Inspecting and exploring toys
Infants are born with a natural curiosity about the world and the ability to pay attention to interesting objects (especially faces and
hands) that come into their field of vision and will even stick out their tongues after watching a caregiver do the same.
Opens and closes hands repeatedly when exploring a toy
Infants take particular delight in playing with flaps and labels on toys.
Grips small flat objects between thumb and forefinger
Notice how Lily (9 months) carefully positions the hand in readiness for grasping the flap on the toy.
Spends time exploring a new toy using two hands
Infants take time to inspect a new toy using both hands. They turn the toy over, turn it around, shake it and bang it on hard surface, taste it.
They also watch their own hand actions and visually inspect the toy with sustained attention.
Visually inspects a toy - turns it over and around
The infant looks at the toy with great interest , turning it around and inspecting it from all angles.
This visual exploration is important for making the connections in the brain that link what the infant sees to how the toy feels and behaves and also to the hand movement that are used to grasp and move the toy.
Adjusts shape and position of hand ready for grasping
Here you see how Will aged 10 months opens the fingers and aligns the hand in readiness for grasping the toy with the left hand.
At this age the hand will still open a lot more than needed for the action.
Shakes a toy to discover if it makes a noise
If the toy does not make a noise, the infant will usually stop the shaking action.
If the toy does make a noise, the infant will shake it several times before continuing to explore the toy in different ways.
Mouths a toy briefly to explore texture and taste
At 8 - 10 months the infant will still spend a little time exploring the taste and texture of a toy with the mouth. However this is usually quite brief and the infant quickly moves on the exploring the toy in different ways.
Passes toy from one hand to the other|
Infants pass toys from one hand to the other repeatedly. This is important for learning to use the two hands together, including moving the hands to the right place at the tight time.
Approaches and picks up larger object with two hands
Infant quickly learn when an object needs two hands for lifting.
Shaking, banging and drumming
Spends time shaking the toy in different ways to explore how different movements change the sound that is produced by the shaking action.
Stops and starts, speeds up, slows down and changes the direction of movements, changes hands.
Bangs toys on a hard surface
Vigorously bangs toys on a hard surface to discover if it makes a noise. Toys that produce a satisfying sound are banged repeatedly.
Bangs two blocks together
Picks up small hard toys such as blocks and bangs them together repeatedly. The accuracy of the banging action improves over tome.
Drums with hands on hard surfaces that make a pleasing noise
Bangs an open hand against a flat surface that produces an interesting sound. Explores drumming with one hand or both hands together.
Drumming is usually done in response to a demonstration by a play partner.
Takes turns in a drumming game with a play partner
The infant watches and copies the actions of a play partner who initiates the game. Infants are sensitive to turn taking.
Knocking over and building towers
Knocks over towers and other tall toys
Drop, throw, hide and look
Drops toys over side of feeding chair - watches them land
This action teaches the infant a great deal about what happens when a toy falls onto a hard surface: What sort of noise does it make, does it bounce and roll?
Throws toys backwards and then looks back to see where it has landed
This seems to be a favorite game for infants.
Tipping out and unpacking
Reaches into a container to retrieve a toy
Tips toys out of a box or tub
Packing in and posting
Packs toys into a container
Holds toy over the opening and releases it.
Posts a ball through a round hole in a box or tin
Infants love posting games.
Posts a rod into a hole
This is more difficult than posting a ball into a round hole. The stick needs to aligned at right angles to the hole to fit through. Short rods are easier than longer rods.
Taking things apart and fitting them together
Takes lids off and puts them on again
Takes apart a toy egg or tub
This requires a strong grip and forceful pulling action. Fitting them together again requires precision in matching the pieces.
Grasp and pull
Pulls toys apart
Knows how to grasp firmly and pull hard to pull a toy apart.
Pulls on a cloth to bring a toy nearer
Imitation and following instructions
Imitates caregiver's everyday actions
Pretends to talk on the phone. Uses a lid as a hat.
Watches a demonstration and copies the action
Copies a complex action on a toy
Here I show Roan how to pull a toy apart.