Stacking toys are classic — for good reason. There are tons of different kinds of toys out there for little ones, and finding just the right one can feel overwhelming. But when it comes to picking out a fun toy for a baby or toddler, you really can’t go wrong with a stacking toy. The best stacking toys are entertaining, educational, and cute enough to double as nursery room decor. It’s tough to find toys that actually hold the attention of younger babies, but stacking toys almost always do the trick. It’s even better to buy ones that are colorful and feature different sized objects with various textures—these are usually the most interesting ones for them to play with.
What are the benefits of stacking toys?
According to Lea Culliton, the president of HABA USA, one of the oldest toy companies in the world, you can rest easy knowing that while your tot is having fun with their toy, they’re also learning something, too.
“From blocks to boxes and so much more, stacking games can be crucial for your child’s development,” Culliton says. “As children stack boxes, nesting cups, and other colorful toys, they build their problem-solving and fine motor skills while learning about concepts such as balance, height, size, and order. Most importantly, stacking toys and games allow children to learn these skills while having fun!”
Stacking can help boost fine and gross motor skills and help your baby develop better eye-hand coordination. They also help babies learn about spatial relationships (like under and on), and shapes. Overall, they’re a great learning tool. Plus, they generally don’t take up a ton of space and are fairly simple to clean.
What kind of stacking toys should I buy?
Stacking toys for babies and stacking toys for toddlers can vary, but all in all, you want vivid, colorful pieces. Culliton suggests keeping it simple with color blocks for babies. Toddlers and older kiddos can handle the cool stacking games, cups, etc.
“Simple blocks like the Baby’s First Basic Block set are a wonderful introduction to early numeracy skills. Babies begin to develop hand-eye coordination with easy-to-grasp wooden cubes in a variety of primary colors,” she explained. “As children grow older, they can tackle more complex stacking toys, such as the Lighthouse Stacking Game, On the Farm Stacking Cubes, or Nesting Stacking Cups. These versatile toys allow children to become acquainted with more complex topics such as counting and balance while continuing to foster key motor skills.”
Stacking rings are a popular option, but stacking cups are fun too. The cups can also be used when babies are in the bath or playing at the beach—they’re perfect for scooping up sand and water, which little ones really love to do. And they’re versatile: while they’re appropriate for young babies, toddlers enjoy them as well, so they’ll grow with your child. Convinced? Here are the best stacking toys you can buy:
Best Stacking Toys
This Fisher-Price set is versatile (it’s basically like three toys in one) and really encourages your baby to get creative. It can be used as a standard stacking toy, or the cups can nest inside of each other, which also makes it easy to make this an on-the-go toy. You can also snap the cups together to create five balls, which Baby can push around. The ball on top of the stack has jingle balls inside it, which your LO will love listening to. You, maybe not so much.
Think of this as a mix between a puzzle and a stacking toy, which is kind of the best for a young toddler. With five different shapes and colors, you can use this toy to teach your LO about both. Kids can stack the pieces independently or on the wooden pegs, and each piece is the perfect size for tiny hands.
Best Wooden Stacking Toys
If you follow influencer moms on Instagram, then you’ve probably noticed that these rainbow stackers are pretty popular right now. There’s a good reason for that: they make a pretty decor piece, and they’re also so fun to play with. Thanks to the various sized arches, these can be stacked and put together in so many different ways, and are excellent for creative play.
This is another balancer and stacker that can be used in so many different ways: as building blocks, a mosaic, a balancer, and more. Made of Birch plywood and coated with water-based paints, it’s safe and nice to look at. It helps with fine motor skills and encourages lots of creative play. Because there are some smaller pieces, this one is recommended for kids ages 3 and up.
This 8-piece set is perfect for little ones easing their way into things. It has bright colors, a cool shape, and is super durable. According to this happy reviewer, a wide range of kids are able to enjoy it! “Both 9 month old, 3 yr old and mom & dad enjoy building! Glossy, durable, well made and open ended fun for everyone!”
Best Stacking Toys For Toddlers
These balancing wooden blocks are really better off for toddlers ages 1-5 than younger babies. Made of high-quality natural pine wood, they’re safe and educational. Since these require balance while stacking, they help kids learn the art of balance, and there are really endless ways to play with them. Plus, the colorful shades make them fun and attractive.
These stacking cubes gives your little one the opportunity to learn farm animals, numbers, and colors! It comes with 10 pieces, each with unique images — a real all-in-one. One reviewer said, “My daughter who is 16 months old now have had this for about a month or two now. At first she just liked stacking it now she enjoys all the drawing of animals, making animals sounds as we stuck them up. Love it, and it is very durable! Surviving biting, sitting on and so on lol”
Best Stacking Rings Toy
The variety of textures, sizes, and colors makes this Sassy stacker stand out. It also keeps the toy interesting for your baby and helps them learn new things. Each ring features a different weight, as well, and they’re chunky enough for little baby hands. The straight post accepts every piece and is sturdy enough to be kept upright as they stack.
This classic stacking ring toy features a bat-at rocking base that is fun for baby to play with and also makes it harder for them to knock it down. Each ring is a different size, which helps introduce the concept of relative size to them, as they stack from biggest to smallest.
For those who prefer something soft, this Infantino set is perfect. It’s made up of a sturdy stacker base, as well as five very different rings: a water teether, mirror ring, activity fish rattle, bead ring, and crinkle multi-texture flower. As Baby plays with the pieces, they’ll experience different textures and hear noises like crinkles, rattling, and whistling, all of which is ideal for the development of fine motor skills.
Little ones who love music will love this Fisher-Price stacker. When you press on the llama’s head, it lights up and plays music. It has a bat-at wobbly base that is fun for them, and the chunky stacking rings can be piled up on the base as well.
Best Stacking Cups Baby
It sounds almost too simple to be true, but sometimes the best thing you can buy a toddler or baby is a few cups. There are so many things a tot can do with little cups like this, especially ones that stack and nest into each other. These have small holes at the bottom that make them double as a great bath toy, and they have numbers on them so you can practice counting together. And at less than $5, they’re probably the cheapest toy you’ll ever buy!
These stackable cups are made in Denmark and are 100% free from BPA, PVC, and phthalates. The muted colors are aesthetically pleasing and different, and these can either be stacked or nested into each other. They also have small holes on the bottom for water play, and on each cup, the holes are in different shapes.
This two-in-one toy comes with 19 pieces: stacking cups, colorful shapes, and a shape-sorting lid on a bucket that holds everything. Each cup features different graphics and a number (for example, there are eight ice cream cones on the eighth cup), and there are eight different shaped pieces for them to explore.
These seven colorful stacking cups can be linked together to create a caterpillar, stacked, or nested. They have holes in them so kids can strain water through them, making them the ideal bath toy. The top cup has a fun spinner that they’ll love playing with.
Best Nesting Toys
Made of sustainable, eco-friendly bamboo, this little bear acts as a nesting and stacking toy. The pieces are sturdy and durable and make for some interesting shapes. Plus, your LO will love looking at that cute little bear face!
This Montessori-inspired stacking board is excellent for sensory play. Made from sustainably sourced wood and colored with non-toxic paints, it’s extra safe for babies to put in their mouth. They can learn their shapes by figuring out where each differently shaped block fits, and they can also stack everything together. Because there are some small pieces, this is appropriate for kids ages 3 and up.
Perfect for the tot who loves cars, this toy offers all sorts of educational aspects. There are seven garages and seven cars, all of which can be matched and stacked. There are multiple ways to stack, and each piece is numbered and features a different color. This helps kids learn balance, colors, and counting, and they can also play with the cars separately.