Our little people are going to make their mark on this world.
In some form or another, their actions are going to have an effect on other people, their community and the environment on a global scale.
As adults, we expect one another to be accountable for our actions. Whether it is to look both ways before crossing the street, respecting the law or simply putting the milk back in the fridge, our children will need to be held responsible for their actions. Understanding how their actions effect the rest of the world is an important life lesson. This lesson begins in very early childhood.
This realisation can often start with a simple, mostly accidental, shake of a toy. Imagine grasping an object, lifting it to the hundreds of sensory receptors in your mouth when tink, clunk, clack – there is a sound. This surprises you causing your hand to drop. A moment passes. You raise the toy to your mouth again and tink, clunk, clack – it happens again. This time with purpose, you raise your hand and forcefully jerk your arm. Tink, clunk, clack! A specific, concious action has resulted in reaching a desired outcome; Cause and effect.
From an early age, babies learn that they may receive a desired response through passing their caregiver a little smile or coo. Unknowingly the caregiver would offer a response which reinforces the babies understanding of cause and effect, being a smile or kind words. The baby has learnt that their actions will initiate a particular reaction.
Babies really start to actively explore the concept of cause and effect from between 6-8 months of age. They start to understand that their actions can result in a clear outcome. One example that jumps to my mind was when we started introducing solid foods. Little Miss would splat her food onto the floor to watch it fall. This quickly turned into much enjoyment for her watching our food orientated dog quickly dash beneath her highchair to gobble up the nutrient enriched grenade.
Babies are born curious. They are sensory learners that thrive through engagement with their surroundings. Learning through play can offer the opportunity for our children to interact with their surroundings and discover where they stand amongst it. Allow your child to actively engage with toys that can fuel their curiosity and build an understanding of cause and effect so they can learn how their actions lead to outcomes.
Musical instruments such as Maracas, Bell Sticks and Xylophone are perfect tools to encourage your child to explore the concept of cause and effect. These can be shaken or tapped softly or loudly, quickly or slowly.
Learning through play – its so much more then just having fun.
Dani D x
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