Friday, September 30, 2011

Surprise! 3-Month-Old “Problem Solvers”

Did you know that many of our Baby Signs® Instructors are also On the Grow™ Educators? That means they are certified to teach classes from our Birth to Five “On the Grow™” curriculum. One of those classes—my personal favorite—is called “Baby Minds” and is designed to help parents of infants younger than 6 months realize that babies are a lot smarter than they look. (Many of the activities are taken from Susan's and my book, Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games Your Baby Will Love.)

For example, research shows that babies come into this world not only capable of solving problems but eager to do so. They want to figure things out. And here’s an easy way to provide your baby with just such an opportunity as early as 2-3 months.

If you’re like most new parents, you have mounted a mobile on your baby’s crib so she has something to watch move while she’s laying on her back. But just watching the mobile move the normal way is so passive! All you need to do in order to present your baby with a problem to solve is to take a soft ribbon, tie one end to an arm of the mobile and the other end to your baby’s foot. What happens the next time your baby moves her foot? The mobile moves too! At first your baby won’t understand the connection, but before long she will be purposefully kicking up a storm—and having a great time!

And once your baby understands about kicking that foot, change the ribbon to the other foot—or a hand—and, Voila!, an exciting new problem to solve!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a mobile. It could be as simple as attaching aa hand to a set of bells you hold over the baby as you see in the photo above.

I played this game with my own son, who’s now 25, and he loved it. To see how long he would stay entertained by moving the mobile, I set up a video camera and just let it roll. The answer? He stayed content making the mobile move for 45 minutes! An astounding amount of time for a 2 month-old baby—and testimony to how much fun babies figuring out how to make things happen in their world.

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook)!


Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
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