9 - 10 Months

Destructive play teaches babies cause and effect

Baby playing in the kitchen

It’s easy to feel frustrated when your baby dumps over a bowl of snacks or pulls a row of board books off a shelf. But destructive play actually teaches them important lessons about cause and effect, gravity, physics, and how various pieces can form a whole.

How to support this kind of play

You can allow a certain amount of destructive play without encouraging your baby to dump their bowl of food over 🙃 If you notice your baby dumping or dropping food on the floor, you can try giving them a more practical alternative. Rip up a piece of paper together, or offer them a stack of board books, plastic food storage containers, or blocks to knock over, or a completed puzzle to overturn. 

Here are some tips that may help:

  1. If your baby is knocking over something that doesn’t matter to you or make a big mess, resist the urge to immediately start picking up after them.
  2. Narrate the process to give language and meaning to what your baby is doing: “Crash!!! The blocks fell over. That made a loud sound!” 
  3. Be a partner in play—help your baby overturn a bin of toys or topple a stack of blocks.
  4. If you have space, keep a ‘yes’ cabinet or space where your baby can remove items and make a mess without a lot of adult intervention. 
  5. If your baby does get into something important, redirect them to a safe alternative.
  6. When your baby makes a mess, model how to clean up and put things back together. At this age, they aren’t able to do it themselves: they’re still learning how to put objects in a container ❤️


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Posted in: 9 - 10 Months, Cognitive Development, STEM, Lovevery App, Cause and Effect, Fine Motor, Math, Science, Child Development

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