I had the opportunity to spend quality time with my wee spawn, Little Bit, last week while my partner was out getting her hair done. Â Our Elder Spawn was also away, camping with my sister’s family, so LB and I had the house to ourselves. Â She was in a calm, playful mood and I was feeling a distinct lack of motivation, so I got down on the floor to play with her.
Little Bit has 5 different shape sorters to play with, some gifts new to her and some hand me downs. There are 3 of the spherical sorters and two animal-themed ones, an elephant and a hippo. Â Hippo sorter, which Roxy and the kids gave to her, was getting the attention on that particular afternoon. Â I was putting the shapes into the corresponding openings and Little Bit was pressing down on the plunger, causing the hippo’s mouth to open and shapes to come tumbling out. Â As we went on, she became more interested in the act of getting the shapes in. Â She’d pick up a shape and I’d point to the corresponding opening, which is also color coded. Â She’dÂ consistentlyÂ ignore my hints and try to put the shape in the wrong hole, triangle into square, for example.
I attempted to help her by holding the shape in the opening and allowing her to push it through. Â We did several rounds of that and then I watched her try on her own. Â Still trying to put the pink triangle into the green square (I leave it to you armchair psychs to interpret that). Â Not to be thwarted by this finicky shape-to-opening issue, my mini-Engineer found a different way to solve the problem.
I sat back and watched as she turned the hippo over and over, examined it end to end. Â She pushed the plunger a few more times, noting that the shapes came out of the mouth. Â She picked it up and looked into the mouth and then picked up one of the shapes. Â She slowly and carefully pushed the shape into the hippo’s mouth and then looked to see if it had gone into the belly of the beast. Â With a happy squawk, she confirmed that her suspicions were correct and hit the plunger, tumbling the shape back out again. Â Showing early understanding of the scientific principal, she repeated her experiment several more times.
Once she was satisfied that the shapes easily went in the way they came out, she continued to closely examine the rest of the apparatus. Â She opened and closed the mouth several times, peering closely at the bright white teeth and testing them on her fingers. Â Then she pushed the eyes into their sockets a few times after which she hit the plunger repeatedly, watching as the eyes and mouth opened correspondingly. Â She’s a year old and it blows me away to see how intense her focus can be when she wants to figure something out.
She still doesn’t put the triangle shape into the triangle hole yet, but she’s already figured out another way to solve her problem and to me, that’s a sign of genius. Â Sometimes the obvious approach isn’t the only approach to solving a problem, which goes to show, we could all learn something from a one year old.
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