Download PDF File      

Fostering Object Permanence - Is it Still There?

                Object permanence is when a child understands that an object still exists even though it may be out of sight. This is an important step toward learning to label objects. When children understand object permanence, they recognize that a label not only is the name of an object, but it represents the object when the object is not present.

Some ideas to foster the development of object permanence:

1. Show your child a toy. Hide the toy as your child watches. Say “where is the ____?” Find the toy as the child watches and say “There’s the ____.” In the beginning a toy that makes sound, such as music is good because it can be hidden with the sound being produced for an added clue.

2. Put your hands in front of your child’s face. Say “Where’s _____?” Move your hands away and say “There’s _____.” This is like peek-a-boo.

3. Play peek-a-boo saying “Where’s _____?” then “There’s _____.”

4. Hold a blanket or cloth so that it partially covers your face. Say “Where’s Daddy? Here he is.”

5. Hide under a blanket so that is obvious you are there. From underneath say, “Where’s Mommy?” Uncover the blanket and say “Here I am. Here’s Mommy.”

6. Hide a large object under a smaller cloth so the shape is obvious. Say “Where’s the _____?” Have the child pull away the cloth and say “There it is. There’s the ____.”

7. Place some small objects inside a container, such as money. Say, “Where’s the money?” Rattle the money inside the container and put it down for the child to open. Say “There’s the money.”

8. Hide an object under an overturned pail and say “Where’s the ____?” Have the child find the object and say “There’s the ____.”

9. Hide a small object in your hand and say, “Where’s the ____?” Have the child open your hand to find the object and say “There’s the ____.”

10. Walk around your home finding familiar objects where they usually reside. For example say, “Where’s Sammy’s juice? Oh, there it is. In the refrigerator.”


©Kate Ross, MS, CCC-SLP:2002.

View PDF file