dads play with baby Hey dads! Next time you play with your baby, try using the element of surprise.

Babies and toddlers love to play games like peek-a-boo, but you can also get creative in the way you surprise them. See how your toddler reacts when you wear a plastic bowl on your head or put a dot of lipstick on your nose or stand on your head!

Research shows that the early years are “prime time” for learning. The brain isn’t born formed. Instead, the experiences that children have actually guide their brain growth and development. Even by the age of 11 months, children have learned some basic physics: gravity makes things fall (like spaghetti from their highchair!) and walls cannot be walked through.

Why try surprising your child? A research study at the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences of Johns Hopkins University found that babies are more interested in toys that seemed to defy their expectations, like a ball that looks like it’s passing through a wall or a toy car that floats in mid-air. When kids are interested, that’s when learning happens best.

This video explains the study. 

Do you have any examples of when your baby learned from being surprised?

See the Journal Science