Stacking Cups
Feb 20, 2013 by


For young babies:

Helping babies to look

Stacking cups can be used to encourage a young baby (who might not like tummy time too much!) to lift his/her head to improve head and neck control. Place your baby on his/her tummy and position yourself in front of your baby. Start stacking the cups up to make a tower. The bright colours of the stacking cups and the noise you make when you place the one cup on top of the other will encourage your baby to lift his/her head and look at the tower.

You can also use the stacking cups when your baby is seated in his/her highchair. Place the cups on your baby’s tray. Slowly say the word ‘up’ every time you stack a cup on the tower. Do the activity nice and slowly but make sure your baby is attending to what you are doing. This activity will not only help your baby to look at toys but it will also help develop his/her attention span. Once you have stacked all the cups on your tower, say the word ‘down’ before you show your baby how to push against the tower to make it topple over. If your baby gets upset by the loud noise of cups falling everywhere, put a rug under the highchair or do the activity on a mat.

Helping babies to make sounds

You can encourage your baby to become more vocal by saying ‘up’ into the cup before you stack it. Stretch the ‘up’-word out in a long loud ‘ahhhh  p’. Take turns with your baby by placing the cup up to your baby’s mouth and wait for your baby to make any sound before you quickly stack the cup on the tower. This activity is only suitable for babies 6 months and older or for children reluctant to talk.

 For preschoolers:

You can encourage the following language concepts with the stacking cups:

  • •    Up and down
  • •    In and out
  • •    Big and small
  • •    Colours
  • •    Numbers
  • •    Long and short
  • •    Scoop and pour
  • •    Top and bottom
  • •    First, second, third …


Stacking cups are versatile and can be used:

  • •    To build towers
  • •    As nesting cups for putting the cups ‘in’ each other,
  • •    To build long trains
  • •    As bath toys for ‘scooping’ water up and ‘pouring’ water out,
  • •    For colour sorting and matching games
  • •    To teach children to count
  • •    To teach children about colours

Stacking cups can also be used as part of a more structured listening task. You can give your child a few multi-step commands to follow, e.g. “First, get the small, yellow cup, then get the big, red cup” or “hide the small, green cup under the big, blue cup”.

Where can I buy stacking cups?

Stacking cups are available from all toy stores including Tesco’s and Argos and costs €5.99.

© Marinet van Vuren, DSC 2011