That empty space on Elisha’s shelf, which I mentioned last week, has finally been filled. A few weeks ago, I realized that, since Elisha was solidly in his 8th month of life, it was time to introduce the object permanence box.
While it is easy to order an object permanence box on a site like Amazon, I opted to support a small business and order from a shop on Etsy, which happened to be in Ukraine. As a result, it took longer to arrive than I expected, but it has finally arrived!
The object permanence box is named for its purpose – that is, to help develop object permanence in the child. The top of the box (which is typically red) has a hole in the top. The point of the “game” is to put the ball in the hole. The ball disappears for a moment, only to return again as it rolls out of the box and into the tray. The act of the ball disappearing and reappearing helps to solidify in the child’s mind that objects can exist, even if they are not seen. (This particular box is a bit smaller than the traditional size, and the ball does reappear much more quickly, which I don’t love. But I do like the natural wood finish and the wood, rather than plastic, ball.)
Elisha is fascinated by watching me place the ball in the hole and seeing it reappear. He also really enjoys the sound of the wood ball knocking against the inside of the box and tray. While Elisha is most interested in tasting and chewing on the wooden ball when he’s left to play by himself, he has just started placing the ball in the hole without help. As his coordination and understanding continues to develop, so will his use of the box.
If you are interested in one of these for your baby (or a baby you know), there are several tutorials online to DIY one. I know that Elisha has a penchant for hitting his toys against things (my husband is a drummer; it was inevitable), and I wanted something that was sure to last. If anyone makes one themselves, though, I’d love to hear how it turned out, so please let me know.