Observe the child’s familiar cause-and-effect toys, to see what type of activating devices she has (hit, bang, push, pull, poke, etc.) Have similar but unfamiliar toys available for the infant to discover.
Introduce one of the novel toys to the child. Activate the toy, but do not let the child see what you did to make it happen. (Cover it or hide it behind your back as you activate it.) See what the child does to explore the toy and try to make it work. Repeat with other cause-and-effect toys. If the child cannot figure out how to activate the toy, give the child her familiar toy first, then the similar novel toy.
The child who remembers what buttons do or knows to bang or shake a novel object without demonstration is showing she remembers actions and consequent results.
Although many parents have numerous cause and effect toys, lower income families may not. Help parents understand what they have in their homes that will build their child’s understanding of the effect they can have on their environment. For example, let the child turn off and on the light switch for the parent, push the elevator button, push the button on the dishwasher or washing machine, turn the door knob, pull open the cupboard doors, etc. All of these are ways for children to learn how to make things happen.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.