Babies learn by exploring their environment.
Babies learn about how the world works by grabbing, banging, dropping and throwing. They are naturally curious and will crawl or walk towards anything of interest — even if it’s fragile or dangerous. This information becomes what they know.
Babies test what they know by trying things again and again.
They start with a question about something they know, like “Will that spoon go clank if I drop it again?” Babies are like miniature scientists, testing their ideas or theories. Researchers call this process “hypothesis testing.”
Here’s how a baby tests things out.
(While babies can’t think in words, this is their thought process.)
“I see a mobile hanging above my crib.”
“Can I make that mobile move?”
“Yes! I moved the mobile with my foot.”
“I think that if I kick the mobile, it will move.”
“I will test this idea by kicking it again. And again!”
“I’ve learned how to make the mobile move. I will kick it again!”
One discovery leads to more testing.
Once a baby learns how to make one thing happen, he wants to make everything happen. And with every new discovery, he needs to test it out again. “If I pour the water, the table will get wet. If I throw the ball, Mommy will throw it back.” Like scientists, the more kids experiment, the more they learn.
Childproofing your house makes (most) testing safe.
Babies are not born understanding the dangers of their environment. It’s your job to make their environment safe and fun to explore. You also need to show your baby what is safe to test, and what is not.
Encourage your baby to test and watch him learn!
Give your baby plenty of free time on the floor to explore, test and learn about the world. Applaud his discoveries. How you respond to testing will encourage or discourage your baby’s learning about his world. Join in the test, even if it means playing peek-a-boo over and over again.