Use this baby favorite to explore "object permanence." 

You'll Need

  • Toy such as Scout or Violet (or other squeaky toy)
  • Blanket or box


10 minutes

Learning Stages

You may have read or heard the phrase “object permanence” in a baby development book or from your pediatrician. What exactly is it? And why is it important? Object permanence is the understanding that an object exists even when you can no longer see it. Early classic experiments used blankets to hide toys and then checked to see if infants searched under the blankets for these toys. Nowadays, more sophisticated experiments use infants’ tracking (following objects with their eyes) and looking responses to measure whether they are maintaining some sort of representation of the object. The results of these experiments show that infants do have some notion of object permanence at about 4 months, and that by 6-8 months babies are frequently experimenting on their own by dropping food off of their high chairs and dropping toys in a game of drop and fetch (where you are the fetcher!).

Violet and Scout are great toys to play hide-and-seek with—providing your child with more experiences in object permanence. Squeeze Scout's paw (or shake a noise-making toy) so your child hears it. Then hide it under a blanket while he is watching you. Ask, “Where’s Scout?” Picking up the blanket and “finding” Scout is a fun activity and may cause smiles all around. You can alternate by hiding Scout under pillows or behind boxes. In addition to exercising your child’s cognitive “muscles,” these activities promote fine motor development (grabbing the blanket) as well as gross motor activities (crawling behind the box).