Skip to main content

Object Permanence - 3 Ways

Object permanence toys are some of my absolute favorite Montessori infant/toddler materials. They are just so beautifully simple and different from anything I had known before I found Montessori. And, they speak so perfectly to the needs of older babies. It helps too that all of my Montessori babies have been obsessed with these types of toys. Right, now object permanence toys are Teddy's absolute favorite materials. 

These toys take an object (often a ball, but not always) and the baby places it in something. The object "disappears" and then the baby does something and the object returns. These toys reinforce the concept of object permanence - that just because we can't see something doesn't mean it no longer exists. Here's a look at 3 toys Teddy uses that incorporate object permanence.

1. Object Permanence Box

With this classic Montessori baby toy, you place the ball in the hole in the top, and a hidden ramp inside the box returns the ball to the tray a moment later. So the ball "disappears" into the hole and returns back to the baby. I introduce this around 8 months, but usually my babies only care about the ball for about the first 4-6 weeks! Then, its all about the box!

Even now at 10 months old, Teddy can't get enough of this work. I bet this is one of his most used materials throughout the day. 

2. Imbucare Board with Ball

This is a newer material for us and it is turning out to be a big hit with Teddy. With this material the baby places the ball into the hole and it disappears out of sight to the other side. They can then reach around to the other side and see the ball. 

I introduced this material at 9 months with Teddy. At first, he was only interested in the ball (which was an underwhelming quality in my opinion, I'm hunting for a similar replacement.) But, after a couple weeks he started to get more interested in using the ball on the board.

At this point, he still doesn't place the ball in the hole, but over the top of the board. Then he peaks around to grab the ball and repeat. I anticipate that he will eventually discover the hole (which we model for him) and use it that way. 

3. Box with Sliding Lid

This is the newest object permanence toy that I have introduced with Teddy. I introduced it at 10 months, and it is still a big challenge for him. With this material, small toys or shapes can be used in one side of the box. The lid then slides over that side to cover them from view, and revealing an empty side. So a baby can slide the lid back and forth, discovering and hiding items from view.  

At this point, Teddy is mostly interested in the cylinder that I placed in the box. That's totally alright! Just like with the other two toys, I expect that he will be interested in the "item" for a bit before exploring how it works. Gus had this material too and worked with it until well after his first birthday, so I bet we have some time. 

There are other Montessori object permanence options available that you could offer your baby. Or it's also possible that your baby doesn't really feel called to this type of work. Close observation will help you decide how much and when to offer these types of materials. 

Does your baby like object permanence work? 


Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…