Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Most Amazing Broccoli Experiment

Last week I told you I would share the story, The Most Amazing Broccoli Experiment. It is about the change that occurs before a child’s second birthday in his or her ability to take someone else’s perspective. If you have a child who is a little over a year old you can enjoy seeing this change take place within the next year. Our experiment goes something like this:

Baby is seated in the highchair at the table. You have two bowls on the table. One bowl contains something you know baby loves like Cheerios or animal crackers. The other bowl contains small pieces of raw broccoli. Push the bowls toward your baby and ask, “Want some?” (They never take the broccoli!) After baby takes a piece of his favorite fingerfood, you choose a piece of broccoli and say whatever you might say when you like something, such as “mmm, yummy” as you eat the broccoli. Next try a piece from the other bowl, the one baby liked. This time, make a face as if it is awful and say what you might say when you don’t like something such as “oh yucky”.

Now push the bowls toward your baby, hold out your hand and ask baby to give you some. A baby who is younger than about 18 months will give you the animal cracker because he likes them even though he saw that you didn’t. A baby who is older than 18 months will give you the broccoli because not only could he see that you preferred the broccoli but because he could begin to understand that your perspective is different than his own.

This developmental milestone has many implications for how baby’s learning will now develop. He will still be egocentric and will demand things to go his way, but he will be able to enjoy story books about other characters. You will sometimes be successful in getting him to share a toy with his baby sister when you are there to watch over and encourage him. And on the down side, he will be a little bit sneaky about doing things he would like to do if he perceives it is something that you would not like (such as the other amazing experiment in which plastic cups are flushed down the toilet to see them disappear)! He can understand that his thoughts are different from yours.

You can find this information and other amazing stories in the book, Growing a Reader from Birth by Diane McGuinness. It is at our library. If you have toddler over 18 months old, keep your eyes open and your house childproofed!

Toad House Publishing

Twinkletime Rhymes to Print

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