Your Clever Toddler in Week 77: Categorizing with Flexibility
What your child learns this week
Your Child’s Brain in Week 77
You may remember as early as week 39, your child began to think of the objects in her world as part of categories. More recently, she’s been able to sort all by herself, and she’s beginning to use language that further develops this skill. As your child moves through her second year, her ability to categorize expands even greater—and becomes flexible: Soon your child will categorize items one way, then rapidly recognize a different way of sorting them.
What the Research Shows
Researchers gave 14-month-olds four balls and four blocks. Two of the blocks and two of the balls were made of the same compressible foam rubber material, the other two blocks and the other two balls were made of rigid plastic material. The objects could be categorized by their shapes, balls in one category and blocks in the other, or by the material in which they were made, squishable material in one category and rigid in the other.
By observing the sequence in which the babies touched the objects, the researchers, surmised that some of the 14-month-olds were able to classify the objects into their respective ball and block categories. Then an experimenter demonstrated the compressibility (hard or soft) of each of the objects to the babies. Once they did so, the toddlers, especially those who were more advanced in language and categorization ability, were able to re-classify the objects—again, by how they touched them—into the categories of compressible versus rigid. Imagine how well your child, at 18 months, has grasped this concept by now!
Week 77 Brain Booster
Demonstrate sorting tasks for your toddler. For instance, mix together spoons and forks in a pile. Demonstrate that the forks go in one pile and the spoons in another. Then show your child spoons and forks, some metal and some plastic. Begin to sort them by their material make up. See is your child touches first the metal ones and then the plastic ones. If not, verbally explain what you’re doing. In time your child will catch on.
When sorting laundry, you don’t simply put all the T-shirts, underwear, and jeans into separate piles, you’ll also sort them by the person they belong to: Daddy’s t-shirts, underwear, and jeans, then Mommy’s and then Baby’s. Right there you’ll dealing with two levels of categories.
In time your child will learn that objects and people can fit into more than one category. Daddy goes into the boy category but also into a brown hair category, a glasses-wearing category, and (eventually) an occupation—attorney—category.
Coming soon, look forward to: Week 78: Encouraging Compliance
Review the most recent accomplishments: Week 75: Realizing Objects Don’t Have Intentions
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here:
- What’s happening in Month 18?
- Here’s what our pediatrician says you might be worried about this month.
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