Baby's Brain in Week 49
As your baby moves into her twelfth month, you'll likely notice that she remembers certain people, places, and things. You may think, "There's no way she remembers being at Grandma's house," but once there, she'll head straight for the toy chest that opens in a unique way. If during the last visit Grandma demonstrated how to open it with a simple turning of a lever and a lifting of the lid, now—a month later—your child may remember and reenact it. She's a smartie, all right!
What the Research Shows
Not only have researchers shown that 12-month-old babies can remember how to play with unique toys up to four weeks after having first learned (thanks to that "deferred imitation" skill), but they also can recall how to use them no matter what the context was in which they learned the skill.
Working with 12-month-olds in one trial, researchers demonstrated how to play with several toys the babies had never seen before, including colorful rings that moved back and forth along a tube. When prompted to play with the rings four weeks later, the children successfully copied what the adult had demonstrated earlier—and did so regardless of their setting: an odd-looking tent, scientific laboratory, or the babies' own, familiar homes.
(What a far cry from the experiments done with babies in week 14, who learned to kick their legs—with ribbon tied to them—to make the mobile overhead jiggle.)