Object Permanence

By Activity Bank on Sep 25, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Understanding object permanence teaches children that objects continue to exist even when they are out of reach. This activity encourages exploration of a child’s environment and helps improve searching techniques. Lessons include Concept Development and English Language Arts.


Preferred sound-producing toys and objects


  • Allow the student to explore one item at a time. If she drops the object, help her to search for it. For example, if she drops a squeaky ball and it rolls out of reach, squeeze it several times to provide a sound cue that will help her locate it.
  • Try this activity on the floor at first, preferably on a carpeted surface, free from obstacles and distractions.baby rattle


Play a version of hide and seek with the student by using sound-producing items. As she looks for something that is out of reach, use simple artificial obstacles. For example, place a favorite music box under a towel or a blanket. Wind it up once and help the student to locate it when the music stops. Label directional and positional concepts as the student searches for the object: “It’s in back of you.”

Hint: Throughout the day, encourage the student to search for items that fall or roll out of reach.



Read more about: Concept Development