Help Your Child Explore their Surroundings

Hands-On Exploration Builds Children's Knowledge

All babies love to explore. They explore their surroundings and the ways that things relate to each other. Giving your child the opportunity to explore is messy but "hands on" is the best way for your baby to learn. Exploring increases your baby's knowledge about the world, and you can have conversations about that world.

USE Concept Words as you EXPLORE: 

Remember that any daily experience can become a language experience. You can take advantage of many simple daily routines for introducing concept words.

The list is endless: grocery shopping, doing laundry, walking the dog, or even cleaning the refrigerator. Have fun exploring together!

  • The coffee can lid is BIG and SMOOTH.
  • The cup is FULL of water and then it is EMPTY.
  • The flower smells SWEET and the siren is LOUD.

Exploring Shapes and Sizes

Do you have a kitchen drawer that seems to draw your baby like a magnet?

Instead of putting a baby lock on that one drawer, put a big colored flower or frog on the drawer that indicates, "This one is for you to explore." Inside, you can put all sizes and kinds of plastic lids or pans with lids.

There is the screw-off lid from a peanut butter jar (too big to be swallowed), the square lid of a sandwich container, the big round lid of a coffee can, a clear lid and colored lids, huge lids and smaller lids.

While you are cooking, paying bills, or working on the computer at the kitchen table, your baby can open the drawer...

  • Tots learn so much from banging, stacking, and trying lids on.
  • Ideas like "too big" and "too little" make sense as the child explores lids and containers.

Exploring Volume

Put a washtub in your bathroom, full of plastic cups (with and without handles), measuring cups, plastic bottles with narrow necks, sand toys or a plastic colander with holes, and other enticing containers for pouring. At bath time, put the containers in the tub for some "exploring."

  • Guess what? Things feel lighter when they are empty.
  • When you pour water out of a little container into a big one, the big one doesn't fill up.
  • When you pour water from a big container into a little container, the little one overflows.
  • Water doesn't stay in a container that has holes!
  • Think of the conversations you can have!

Exploring the Outdoors

Spread an old blanket on the grass on a nice day, and bring a few things to the blanket at a time: a flower, a leaf, a rock (too big to swallow).

Or go for a walk with the stroller and walk up to the object your baby notices.

  • Birds fly over, grasshoppers jump, a squirrel runs up a tree
  • Remember that trucks and cars are interesting, too.
  • So are boats and bicycles in people's driveways, and water sprinklers, and fire hydrants, and sirens and doors.
  • Talk about whatever your child notices!