Until now, most of your baby’s learning has been through her senses—mouthing, touching, watching how things move, and tuning into different sounds.
Now her brain is starting to organize all of that input. Every experience she has helps build an encyclopedia of knowledge in her brain. The links in her mind are getting more and more complex. This is the foundation of her intelligence.
Experts agree that showing your baby how things work in the real world helps her with all of these brain connections. According to Doctor Will Staso, psychologist and author of Neural Foundations and Brain Under Construction:
“To gain knowledge and a rich brain architecture, children need to experience real world objects, events, and situations from a variety of perspectives and sensory inputs.”
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say your baby sees a picture of an apple in her “Things I See” book.
The parts of the visual image related to the apple’s color will be stored in one location of her brain and the shape of the apple will be stored in another. When you say the word "apple,” the sound gets stored in yet another location in her brain.
With repetition, your baby will start to associate the sound of the word “apple” with the image of the apple.
Then let’s say you go to the kitchen and show your baby a real apple. Your baby will notice how it feels in her hand, how heavy it is, see that the whole can be sliced into parts, and that an apple is found in the kitchen.
When you go to the grocery store, your baby sees many apples, discovering that they can roll when dropped, that the stem can be twisted, and that apples can be different colors. When she gets an apple in her hands, she realizes what it tastes like when it is bitten, and that a whole apple can’t fit entirely into her mouth.
The complexity of the associated network—just the apple network—is astounding!
The most meaningful learning happens when your baby is involved and exposed to everyday objects and events.