Montessori Baby-Ed: Cognitive and Emotional Benefits of "Peek-a-Boo" with Your 5 Month Old

IF YOU'VE EVER ENJOYED THE GAME OF "PEEK-A-BOO" WITH A FIVE MONTH OLD, YOU MAY BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO KNOW HOW MUCH YOU HAVE HELPED ADVANCE THE COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR LITTLE ONE. 




What Montessori child doesn't enjoy the classic "What's Missing Game"...even when she is a baby! 

In the Montessori Preschool environment, we often reinforce concepts with the "What's Missing Game" because it is so appealing to young children. This fun game has it's roots in the "Peek-a-Boo" games that babies love to play from an early age.

Photos from Adobe Stock

UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF
"OBJECT PERMANENCE"

At around five or six months of age, Baby is beginning to explore the concept of “object permanence”, which is the understanding that objects still exist even when they can’t be seen (such as when it is dark or the object is under a blanket). During this stage of development, a small night lite at the bedside may be helpful if your baby is waking up in a fretful mood during the night. This kind of proactive support for your child enhances her emotional development throughout early childhood. As well, playing Peek-a-Boo games starts to become very engaging for the Baby at this stage.

Peek-A-Boo becomes a favorite as Baby naturally explores the concept of “object permanence”. Likewise, your baby may begin to cry when you are out of sight, since s/he is struggling to understand that you still exist even though s/he can’t actually see you. Understanding the permanence of objects is an important and an on-going process for the young child, spanning several years in early childhood. That's probably why Peek-a-Boo and Hide-n-Seek games are so popular with young children. 

In the Lesson below, you’ll find some extensions for the treasure basket activities that are Montessori-style “What’s Missing Games”. Not only are the games lots of  fun, they also help Baby’s developing understanding of “object permanence.”

In my Montessori Baby-Ed "Nido Basket" #5, I have included a treasure basket with baby-friendly shaker instruments. This is, of course, an activity for making music and stimulating Baby's auditory sense. However, we can also offer our baby some activities that aid in cognitive development by adding colorful scarves to the treasure basket.

Here is a photo of the five-month-old baby's shelf from my upcoming Montessori Baby-Ed eCourse. The shaker instruments are in the basket on the lower right side of the shelf.

Photos by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

THE LESSON

1.    Invite Baby to explore the Instruments Basket.

2.    Take Baby to the shelf where the Instruments Basket is stored and remove it. Then, place the basket on the floor next to Baby (Visual stimulation)

3.    Next, remove the Double Shaker Egg from the basket, grasp it and shake it. (Auditory discrimination and small muscle development)

4.    Place Double Shaker Egg on the floor and roll it, so that Baby is enticed to creep after it. (Auditory stimulation and encourages large motor development)

5.    Give Baby the vocabulary: “Rolling”, “Shaker Egg Rattle”, etc. (Development of Language)

6.    Help Baby to grasp the rattle and shake it herself. (Stimulates auditory sense and develops the small muscle of the hand)

7.    Help Baby put the rattle back in the basket. (Aids in the child’s desire for order in the environment)

8.    Then, remove the Wooden Shaker Ball from the basket, grasp it and shake it. (Auditory discrimination and small muscle development)

Shaker instruments and scarves are available at Kindermusik International

9.    Continue by following Steps #4, 5, 6, and 7, this time, encouraging Baby to explore the Wooden Shaker Ball from the Treasure Basket, if s/he is interested (Encourages independence)

10. Observe and adjust to Baby’s preferences.

11. ****If you haven’t done so already, I recommend setting up a sturdy child-size shelf in Baby’s daytime play area. This begins the process of keeping an organized environment for the child in which there is a place for everything and everything in its place.

12. You can place Baby’s rattles, ball, and block that you have assembled from Nido Basket #1, #2, #3, and #4 in little soft “treasure baskets" on the shelf.

13. Smaller baskets lined up on a low shelf work better for children (as opposed to a larger box filled with an array of toys). Each basket has a purpose and is well-thought out by the adult.

14. I suggest collecting small & medium sized baby-friendly baskets, boxes, and trays that are made of woods, cloths, and natural reeds. These can be filled with Baby-Ed Activities and gradually added to and alternated on Baby’s shelf during the next months.

15. In the beginning, place no more than 3 items in a basket. (2 is perfect for the Infant.)

EXTENSIONS TO THE LESSON
USING COLORFUL SCARVES


Peek-a-Boo Game
·      Place both Shakers on the floor near Baby
·      Cover the Shakers with one of the scarves
·      Say: “Where did the Shakers go?”
·      Pull the scarf away and say: ”Peek-a-Boo”!



What’s Missing Game
·      Place both Shakers on the floor near Baby
·      Fold a scarf so that you can’t see through it
·      Place the folded scarf over the Shaker that is to the left of 
       Baby
·      Say: “Where did the Shaker Ball go?”


·      Pull the scarf away and say: “Peek-a-Boo”!
·      As Baby gets older, the game changes and instead, you
       would say: “What’s missing?”
·      Pull the scarf away and say: “The Shaker Ball!”

Don't forget! Playing "Peek-A-Boo" by placing one of the scarves over your own head is, of course, another delightful way to reinforce the learning of "object permanence" with your baby. 

My upcoming Montessori Baby-Ed eCourse is almost ready for enrollment!  This eCourse features eight Activity Lesson Plans for your baby each month, with Instructional Videos and a Pdf  download containing links to resources to create your own Montessori "Nido Baskets" for your little one.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND TO GET ON MY WAIT LIST FOR THE COURSE


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This Blog post is part of the "Montessori Monday Link-up" at the  Living Montessori Now site,  your "Go-To" place for activities, resources and useful information for your Montessori classroom or home environment! 

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