Observe the child’s interaction with varying objects.
Present a familiar rattle or toy, small ball and larger ball, special cuddly object. Observe how the child reaches for the toy (shape of hand and fingers). Also observe facial expression.
The infant will reach for the familiar rattle with a smile and a hand that is shaped to receive the object, then wave the toy. The child may reach for the small ball with one hand, put it to her mouth, then look at it and touch it. She will reach for the bigger ball with two hands and mouth it. A familiar plush toy may be pulled to the chest or face. These actions indicate the child is recognizing the different characteristics and uses of objects.
Help parents understand the importance of object exploration (not just toys). Infants learn about their world through exploring with their senses. Until children can sit unsupported (at around 6 months), it is important for them to hold the child in a sitting position on their lap so the child’s hands are free for object discovery. Children are also more interested in exploration in a sitting position than when lying on their backs.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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