stuffed animal hide and seek
Disclosure: This post is made possible with support from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. All opinions are my own.

As a parent, we often find ourselves comparing our babies to those around them similar in age, right? We all do it. We are checking off a milestone checklist to make sure our child is on track and developing as they should be; as we should be.

After all, these precious beings deserve the best we can offer.

Teach Object Permanence

We watch our baby as they learn to coo, smile, sit up, crawl, and walk. Nurturing them each step of the way, we work diligently to foster them into childhood and beyond.

baby 9 month milestones

During that infant stage, they soak up such an incredible amount of information and are eager to learn more.

In fact, did you know that by 9 months, most babies should be able to look for things they see you hide, play peekaboo, and even watch the path of something as it falls.

How to teach object permanence to your baby

Each of these cognitive accomplishments help them develop problem-solving, thinking, and learning skills to use throughout their lives.

9 months is also an incredibly fun stage to watch children go through! They are constantly discovering new things as they learn to explore the world around them.

There is so much to see and do, and as we keep them safe in doing so, we can also help enable their exploration through games and activities.

baby playing peekaboo

Object Permanence Activities for Babies

One of the easiest, most popular games to teach babies the concept of hidden objects is Peekaboo.

As you hide behind your hands only to reappear in a few seconds, your baby learns object performance.

The concept that even though they can’t see you/something, it still exists. In addition to peek-a-boo, there are other object permanence activities to further apply this skill.

Similar to peekaboo, a game of hide-and-seek can also teach this important concept. Considering the mobility of your child, the game can easily be played in a static position.

hide and seek with baby

For example, take their favorite stuffed animal. Perhaps one that makes sounds. Next, grab a small blanket. Show the stuffed animal to the child and let them get a good look.

Now, move back a little and hide the toy under the blanket. If it makes noise, be sure to activate it. Then, watch as your baby moves towards the blanket in search of their stuffed animal.

You could even go a step further by hiding with the stuffed toy. Crouch down behind the couch and activate the noise on the stuffed animal, or another noise-making toy.

Again, observe your baby as they move towards you seeking both the sound and visual of seeing you go behind the couch.

peekaboo baby

Finally, turn the game around and let your child do the hiding.

For instance, take the stuffed animal and slip it under your shirt as you’re holding your baby in your lap. Take it out and encourage your baby to imitate your actions.

Once they slip it back under your shirt, ask, “Where’d it go?

Watch the smile on their face as they remember putting the toy under your shirt and pull it out to your joy and amazement.

Mom using checklist with baby

Often, these milestone moments with our children take little planning or effort.

Through simple games played during our daily routine with them, we can encourage their object permanence development in small steps to reach the bigger ones.

Are you concerned about your child’s development?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tips and resources to help. You can order a FREE “Parent Kit” (includes a Milestone Moments booklet with checklists for ages 2 months to 5 years and a growth chart) as well as download the Milestones App to access on-the-go, anytime.

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