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NYS Parent Guide

6-12 Months: Growth and Development

On the Move!

Supporting Learning and Curiosity

Supporting Learning and Curiosity

Your baby is gathering information all the time, putting it together to form his first pictures of himself, other people, and the world. As you encourage him to explore and learn, you help him gain more information and make sense of it.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Play with him. Pay attention to whatever your baby finds interesting, as long as it’s safe. By doing this you encourage his curiosity and learning by being there and sharing, and building on what is important to your baby. This is called joint attention, an important parenting skill that encourages baby’s learning.
  • Share your baby’s delight in new discoveries. Encourage what he is doing and talk about it as he does it. “You found the block in the cup!”
  • “Read” with your baby. He might want to help you turn pages and will enjoy pointing at animals and objects in the pictures. Say the animals’ names and begin to introduce animal sounds. Remember, at this age, the story isn’t important—the time together is!
  • Play hide-and-seek with objects. He is learning that objects exist even when he can’t see them. Sit on the floor together. Give him a toy, then hide it under a blanket or pillow while he is watching. Ask, “Can you find it?” If he can’t, help the toy peek out so he can see part of it. Over time he will look for it himself—and find it.
  • Give him lots of opportunities to move and explore. His new abilities to crawl, creep and cruise coupled with intense curiosity takes his learning to a new level. Roll a ball back and forth, then take a “crawling tour” of the living room as you look for the ball. Talk about what you see. Always keep in mind that your baby is very curious and can get into everything so make sure the space is safe for him!
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Did you know

Around eight months of age, your baby will be able to have a mental image (a picture in his mind) of a favorite toy (or even of you) for at least a few minutes after it’s not in view. That short term memory is exciting because it suggest that there is some development in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area that supports thinking and problem-solving! Playing those hide and seek simple games helps to stimulate that area. Simple fun play helps to build baby’s brain! (ELIOT, L., 1999)