Ever since my little guy started crawling and cruising around the edges of the couch, he loved being chased. We’d pop out from behind a door with this expressive I’m gonna get you, he’d cackle in delight, and kisses and tickles directly followed. We’re still playing the chasing game, but now we just have to be more on our toes, since he’s getting kind of fast!
Does your baby love peek-a-boo too? Do they dig finding you hiding behind a wall? Do you get the same belly laughs that are pretty much the best part of your day?
Turns out that babies love being surprised. Why? Well, it actually helps them learn.
Babies have these sophisticated brains that start understanding what objects are capable of doing very early on. For instance, a ball can roll… a rattle shakes… and blocks can stack.
A recent study revealed that when babies are shown a surprising play idea, or they see the object do something that they don’t expect, they show deeper attention as they tried to understand the event. They examined the object and actually showed better learning, than the infants who were shown an event that they did expect.
You might have heard me preach about using toys in different ways.
This gives baby a chance to explore all the properties of one toy for better learning. And it’s up to us to show baby the surprising things too!
Playtime Action Steps:
- Next time you shake a maraca, instead of holding it by the handle, hold it at the top and make an unexpected sound for baby. Try rolling the maraca across the floor or putting it inside another container and shaking to make it sound.
- Instead of building a tower with blocks, build a train and push it along the floor. Instead of putting blocks into a bag, put them through a paper towel roll, or in an old tissue box or oatmeal container and shake them up.
- Instead of just rolling a ball, you can bounce it, throw it up, or use a book and create an easy in-home ramp off the couch.
So keep it interesting at home. Keep baby guessing and challenge what they already know. If you're looking for more ideas on how to make playtime easy, rewarding, and fun, then check out Baby School here.