Parenting Resource

Gabby, Age 4 Months, Learning With Her Father

May 19, 2010

Watch to see how Gabby shows she is interested in the way this new toy works. How does her father, Mark, help her learn?

To Think About:

How is Gabby show she is thinking about how this toy works?

How does Mark respond to what Gabby’s signals?

What thinking skills might Gabby be using in this clip?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Gabby does:

  • Watches the toy intently, turning her head to follow it with her eyes.

  • When she has “figured out” the toy, she focuses on the movement of her father’s hand instead. Her interest returns to the toy when she has “figured out” her father’s hands.

  • When her father flattens the toy, Gabby communicates her intense interest by moving her whole body—legs, arms, and head. This shows that she has noticed a difference in the way this toy looks and is wondering: How did that happen?

What Mark does:

  • Moves the toy nice and slowly—giving Gabby time to focus.

  • Follows her lead. Notices she is interested in his hand so he talks with her about his hand. Then he follows her lead again when she turns back to toy.

  • Shows her other things you can do with the ball (for example, flattening it)—expanding her understanding of how this object works and what it can do.

  • Narrates the experience for Gabby which helps her make sense of how this toy works and also builds language skills.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

  • How is your child developing thinking skills through her everyday interactions with you? Here are some questions to think about:

  • How does your child like to explore the world around him? Does he prefer to use his fingers and hands to figure out how things work, or does he like to be on the move, using his large muscles (arms and legs) to explore?

  • What kinds of activities does your child seek out and truly enjoy? Why do you think he prefers these activities?

  • Think about a recent playtime with your child.

  • What was he exploring?

  • How did he go about his exploration?

  • What do you think he was learning?

  • Did you participate in his play? If so, how?

  • What impact did you participation have?

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