9 - 10 Months

Why do babies love to dump things out of containers?

Baby playing with the Lovevery basket

It’s no surprise that your baby has fun dumping things out of containers. Emptying is the first part of an important kind of play called containerizing. Emptying containers, which requires less fine motor precision than filling, comes first. In the next month or two, your baby may start putting objects back into a container one at a time. 

Containerizing is important for both spatial and conceptual learning. Dumping objects out of a container and eventually putting them back in teaches your baby about what fits inside something else, and the relationship between ‘in and out’ or ‘empty and full.’ Conceptually, containerizing teaches your baby about gravity and cause and effect

When your baby empties a basket of blocks, they’re watching to see what happens: why are the blocks going down? How do they fall? And what happens when they hit the floor? When your baby advances to filling containers, their learning advances along with it. Why do some things fit while others don’t? Why do some things fall through a tube, but stay in a container? 

Ways to support container play

Offer your baby lots of variety

Make the most of your baby’s love of dumping things out of containers by providing many different options. 

To start, fill the Treasure Basket with different kinds of objects, such as:

You keep filling up the container, then let your baby dump it all out. Repeat, repeat, repeat 😉

Once your baby starts filling containers, you can offer them a variety of things to put objects into and dump or pull them out, such as:

  • pots and pans with lids
  • food storage containers
  • slippers
  • purses
  • laundry baskets

Try giving your child blocks, balls, chunky puzzle pieces, bath toys, and even baby clothes. If your washer/dryer is low to the ground, your baby will love pulling the clothes out and dumping them into a basket below.

Narrate your baby’s container play with dynamic language

For instance, each time they put something into a container, say ‘In! In!’ and each time they dump something out, say ‘Out! Boom!’

 One of the best ways to help your baby build their language skills is to repeatedly connect their real experiences to key words like ‘in’ and ‘out.’


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Posted in: 9 - 10 Months, 11 - 12 Months, Cause and Effect, Fine Motor, Language, Cognitive Development, STEM, Lovevery App, Child Development

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