Storytime and Child Development: Object Permanence




In my last post on four-eight month old infants, I’m addressing a beautiful thing called object permanence.

Parents probably know this as the concept that helps their babies not to go BANANAS when they leave the room or turn a corner and disappear from sight. Object permanence is the knowledge that something is there even when we can’t see it, and it’s just beginning to form at the tail end of this stage (right around seven or eight months).

In the beginning, infants recognize and try to find objects that are only partially hidden–things that are sticking out from blankets or bags, etc. By the time they’re a year old, though, they’ll be much more comfortable with items or people being hidden and will probably actively search for them, even when they’re completely out of view. (Have you noticed one year olds looking for your toys mid-storytime? It’s good times.)

Object permanence is what makes peek-a-boo such a fascinating game for babies. When you hide your own face, infants will think you’re completely gone. You are a sorcerer to them–a regular Chris Angel, Mind Freak. When you move your hands away, suddenly you’re back from outer space and you just walked in to find…never mind.

Practicing peek-a-boo gives infants a fun opportunity to explore a parent’s whole tangible being. It helps them build the knowledge that they’re not being left when they can’t see someone and it might help them trust that they’re always coming back.

There are so many opportunities for this in storytime!

Try any version of Little Mouse, Little Mouse. Jbrary has a great listing here. Remember, some babies may not have 20/20 vision yet (especially if you have some younger than six months). I like to make my baby flannel sets really big. I have one Little Mouse set that’s just three bright houses that are a little bigger than softballs. Sometimes I play the game with the mouse half out of the house or with its tail sticking out.

Here’s another peek-a-boo song from Jbrary that I use from time to time.

I love Kendra’s “Where is Baby?” I use it to end every baby storytime and it’s a hit for all ages.

There’s also this whole storytime from Brooke!


While searching for some resources, I also found this chart from Saroj Ghoting, which has lots and lots of info just like what I’m sharing in this series. Check it out!


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