The power of peek-a-boo

Have you ever covered your eyes, uncovered them again and watched your baby smile or giggle with glee? This simple game of peek-a-boo has profound developmental meaning.

Today, I’m sharing how playing a simple peek-a-boo game with your little one contributes to their cognitive development.

Peek-a-boo to music

In our Wriggle and Rhyme classes, each activity that we do is set to music. That’s because MUSIC connects with our brains in so many ways, providing a “full brain” workout, when used intentionally.

By singing along to the music, we encourage language development, especially for our babies and toddlers. Music attaches to our memories and so, all the words that we sing, embed into the children’s brains.

Each song has a rich, intentional developmental activity attached to it that encourages an area of physical and / or emotional development.

Why the big fuss with peek-a-boo?

One of the songs that we sing in our WRIGGLER programme (for babies from 6-18 months) is called “Peek-a-boo”.

The song gives us an opportunity to play the well-known game, while singing to our little ones.

But, peek-a-boo is so much more than a game.

Scientists believe that it encourages children in the area of OBJECT PERMANENCE.

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

The sensorimotor stage is the first of the four stages in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. It extends from birth to approximately 2 years, and is a period of rapid cognitive growth.

During this state, babies begin to understand their worlds by co-ordinating the things that they see and hear (sensory experiences) with the things that they can touch (motor experiences).

What is “object permanence”?

The main development during this first stage is the understanding that objects exist and things happen outside of me. In other words, my world operates outside of just me!

During this sensorimotor stage of development, the baby lives in the present. He or she does not yet have a mental picture of the world stored in memory, so doesn’t have a sense of permanence. In other words, if the little one can’t see something, then to him / her, it doesn’t exist.

A child that has understood object permanence, will look for a toy hidden behind a blanket. A child that hasn’t understood object permanence will believe that the hidden toy is gone forever.

The blanket example is actually based on the research that Piaget did in his original studies.

Why is this critical to a baby’s development?

When you baby is very little, the sudden onset of tears or screams when you leave then room, can be difficult to manage – especially when you just want to go to the bathroom in peace.

When you leave, they believe that you’re gone for good! Not a wonder they’re so upset!

It’s so important for children to grow to see their world and parts of their world as separate to them. As difficult as developing object permanence can be (especially when it dove-tails with separation anxiety), it’s such an important part of a child’s cognitive development.

Playing a simple game of PEEK-A-BOO can help with this development!

Our unique musical stories

You can find our original PEEK-A-BOO song on our GROWING TOGETHER album – available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify or your favourite streaming service.

More info here –