Research and science is alive and well in the world of toddlerhood.

I witness this every Friday morning at The Parenting Place Play Shoppe as this year’s group of young children engage in serious hands-on play and discovery.

This past Thanksgiving week, I happily immersed myself in watching, listening, interacting, playing with our just- turned -15-month-old- grandson, Theo.

And to do so is to be humbled by the very power and significance of a toddler’s independent search for knowledge and understanding.

Each item picked up, each object noticed, each sound heard is observed, examined, applied, filed to be remembered and activated in the next similar situation .

I was minimally helpful in Theo’s scientific inquiry- good to retrieve an item, substitute another. Once he decided on his hypothesis,however,like putting each item one at a time into a box, closing the lid, observing after each one until all items were in, then taking each one out- and beginning again, he didn’t need me to respond, or suggest, or direct. He was satisfied with his own self-chosen activity.

There’s much discussion about the need and emphasis for more science education for children in school.  As parents, however, we know and can appreciate that the scientific principles of observation, experimentation, hypothesis, prediction, and conclusion begin at home- in the safe kitchen cabinet, in the recycling box, in the backyard, with loose parts to examine.

So as we begin to shop for the upcoming holidays, think carefully about the purchases we make.  Keep in mind the significance of providing a child with simple items that will allow him/her to examine, observe, imagine, discover, pretend.

Remember that a good toy is 10% toy and 90% child.  When we use this measure in our search for that perfect gift, we offer children the opportunity to grow in mind and spirit – to use their developing imagination, knowledge and resources to satisfy, wonder and thrive.

Thank you, Theo, for letting me watch – toddler science in progress.





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