Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development 0 -12 months

Cognitive development can be referred to as the development of an individual’s thoughts and intelligence. Infants begin to recognize objects at various times during infancy. Everything the infant learns now sets the stage for later development. In the first year of development, your child will be able to focus and follow moving objects with his eyes. He will learn about object permanence. That is, when an object moves behind another, it has not disappeared; rather, it has only moved out of sight. Peek-A-Boo will be a favourite game for your child too. To continue a game, he will learn to indicate using gestures, or babbling. Your child will also learn to imitate your actions. Through these actions, he will also learn about body parts. Buy large picture books for your child. He will become interested in big and colourful pictures, and learn as you continuously introduce new things to him. 

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Cognitive At 8 – 12 Months

Finds Hidden Object

I am beginning to learn that even though I don’t see the object, the object can still exists and it does not just disappear! Watch me do this with hiding games. Cover some of my toys with a small cloth while I am watching. Let me remove the cloth and see that my toy is still underneath. We can then try with more cloths. I will be able to find my toy hidden under 1 of 2 or 3 covers when I am 8 to 12 months old.


  • Let your child play with a favorite toy.
  • Let him see you as you cover the toy with a cloth.
  • Observe if he is able to remove the cover to look for the toy.


As your child finds the hidden toy behind 1 of 3 screens, he is understanding an important idea called ‘object permanence’. That is things can still exist even if he cannot see them. His ability to uncover the toy under misleading cloths, shows a focus and attention to his environment that is very good for his age and for future learning. This skill usually develops between 8 and 12 months old, he will move on to remember where objects are kept, such as where his favorite toys are between 13 to 22 months. Later he will learn problem solving skills, such as finding and getting to his favorite toy between 17 to 24 months. You can help him increase the level of difficulty in this play activity by using different colored covers. Try our suggested activities for more fun ideas in playing memory and attention games with your baby.

  1. Play Peek-A-Boo with first cloth covering your child’s head followed by cloth covering your head. Respond with surprise and delight when child lifts the cloth.

  2. Hide under a big cloth (blanket), move and talk until your child pulls of the cover. Next, let him hide and you pull off the cover.

  3. Use the palm of your hand to hide one small toy. Let your child touch the hand. When he touches it, open your hand and let him have the toy. Exclaim at his cleverness!

  4. Buy or make a "Jack in the box" toy where he presses the cover and "Jack" pops and springs up suddenly.

  5. Use a variety of toys or food whichever is more interesting for the child to play this game.

  6. When you are at the park or beach, bring his favorite toy and play "find the toy" under the covered sand.

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Cognitive At 6 – 13 Months

Searches For Toy As It Moves Out Of Sight

Daddy, mummy, I can understand how objects move in space. When you play ball with me and the ball disappears behind the box, I will go directly to the place to look for it! How thrilling as I know that I can physically find the ball which has disappeared! I will search for a toy as it moves out of sight between 6 and 13 months old.


  • Place a long box in front of the child.
  • Roll a car behind the box.
  • Let the car stop mid way behind the box.
  • Observe whether your child searches for the toy when it is out of his sight.


Your child is on track in developing his spatial relationship skills in this activity. Finding the ball or car when it disappears out of your child’s sight shows an understanding and mastery of his environment that is very appropriate for children between 6 and 13 months old. By looking for the toy as it disappears behind, under or through a barrier, we can see that your child is able to expect the movement of the object in space even when he cannot see it.

See our suggested activities for other ideas to play and develop your child’s intellectual skill in searching for something which has gone out of sight. Your child will soon learn the idea of putting objects "inside" a container, an idea we call containerization with regards to his spatial relationship skills.

  1. You can play games where you hide small items like biscuits under 1 or 2 cups or behind 1 or 2 hands. Make sure you get his attention first and watch him look for it.

  2. Use toys that appeal to several senses (sight, sound, texture) and have fun playing hide and search with him round the house (under the sofa, behind the television).

  3. While the child is watching, you act as an animal and pretend to meow and crawl behind a small sofa chair where he can see you. Encourage him to look for you and show lots of excitement when he crawls and finds you.

  4. Play with blankets on the bed and hide under them as the child’s attention is on you. Ask him to find you and once again, have lots of laugh and tickles when he has found you.

  5. To make the activity easier for him, you can use a half-clear barrier like a transparent container to hide the object. You can also use a toy that makes lots of sound and light as it moves and disappears under the bed or a box.

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