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Activities to Build Understanding of Cause and Effect

Before children are developmentally ready to talk, they need to understand cause and effect! Cause and effect activities are great ways to help children realize that their actions have an effect on their environment. Understanding this power and potential of communication is part of the foundation that supports language and encourages the desire to communicate. Communication, in this sense, can refer to intentional eye movements and head turns, gestures (like pointing or signing), vocalizations, and of course spoken words.

Once your child is familiar with the “effect” of the activity or toy, pause and see if your child will communicate in some way to request more! If you’re working on spoken language, try pairing each activity with one word at a time (such as “more” or “open”).

There are also lots of cause & effect activities built in at home! Some include:

- Anything that makes noise in response to an action (hitting a wooden spoon on a pot or pan, shaking a bell or rattle)

- Turning a light switch on and off and seeing the lights react in response

- Turning a sink faucet on and off and feeling / seeing / hearing the water come out

- Building and knocking down a tower (such as blocks, coins, plastic cups)

- Listening to music and hearing the music stop when you push something (on your phone or on a speaker)

- Playing peek-a-boo, tickling, or making silly faces and noises

Here you can find recommendations for some great cause and effect toys and words to target with each one:

Have fun and let us know if you have any questions while you’re working on cause and effect!!

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