Toddlers Do It: Video Introduction

Next we will watch two short video clips of how children learn from observing other people’s interventions. In the first video clip, you will see a toddler learn about a new toy by watching an adult play with it. In the second video clip, you will see a 3-year-old predict an object’s effect on a machine without ever seeing the object work on its own. As you watch the videos, think about how you as an adult still learn about cause-and-effect by watching others. What information do you find helpful? What hinders your learning?

The first video is of a toddler learning a very new cause-and-effect action! The toddler in the video wants to make a marble come out of a special marble dispensing machine. In order to get a marble that she can put in a fun marble run, she has to lift a cone off of a colored box. But there is a trick to this game. There are two cones and two boxes but lifting the cone on only one of these causes the marble to dispense. The toddler has to learn which cone ‘works’ by watching an experimenter do it! Even though the adult talks to the child, she never explains what she is doing. She never tells the toddler which cone and box combination works using her words. She only uses her actions. And the child watches intently.

  • Intervention
    an action taken on something with the goal of bringing about an effect
    Spatial contact
    when two or more objects touch each other