Experimenting With Babies Book Review

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I first stumbled upon the book Experimenting With Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform On Your Kid by Shaun Gallagher when shopping the baby section of the Think Geek catalog. My curiosity spiked – science experiments? On your baby?! If that’s not a book right up my alley, I don’t know what is.
After visiting the Experimenting With Babies website and making sure these experiments aren’t anything that would concern, say, Child Protective Services, I contacted Mr. Gallagher’s publisher, who was kind enough to send me a copy of the book to review for you lovely Domestic Geeks! (Because I know your ideas of entertainment are just as twisted as mine. ^_^)
From the Experimenting With Babies website:
Each project includes instructions on how to conduct the experiment at home using ordinary toys and household items as props, an easy-to-understand explanation of the experiment’s significance, and suggestions on how parents can incorporate these principles into their interactions with their child.
Mom and Dad can begin experimenting on the day their baby is born, and they can continue to test hypotheses well into their child’s toddler years. Covering everything from recognizing faces and sounds to depth perception and fine motor skills, this fascinating book is perfect for parents who are curious about their baby’s growing ability to understand and interact with the world around them.
Experimenting With Babies will amuse and entertain parents — and the whole family. With the book’s help, you can experience the thrill of scientific research from the comfort of your own living-room laboratory and find out what happens when the empirical meets the adorable.
Based on that helluva sales pitch, I was already approaching this book with excitement and high expectations – you know, mental images of Doctor Horrible goggles and white lab gloves and dry ice in beakers (or bottles, if we’re going to stick with the baby theme) and ominous music… the works. When the book arrived, Jonathan and I pounced on it, grabbed our Princess, and settled in for another night of unconventional Freeman style family entertainment.

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When I cracked open Experimenting With Babies, looking for some fun projects (primarily for entertainments sake), I was surprised to find myself unwittingly and effortlessly learning random abstracts that normally fly right over my head regarding my child’s inner workings. Not only that, but I was amazed at how relevant the lessons are to child-rearing. Each experiment teaches you how to apply the science to the most unscientific areas of everyday parenting life.
It’s kind of like one of those science fair projects. They sucker kids in with exploding volcanoes and ant farms and them BAM! They teach you science and application. And then you’re suddenly LEARNING. Tricksy teachers.
So while I expected this book to be informative, I simply did not expect it to offer such powerful parenting skill tips! Using thoroughly cited studies on infants cognitive, motor, social and behavioral development, each experiment follows up with “The Takeaway”. The Takeway offers simple conclusions: “If your child is exhibiting this behavior, then they are at this level of development, which means as a parent you can do (fill in the blank) to encourage this area of growth.”

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After learning the science behind these projects, it’s impossible to NOT incorporate the principles into your interactions with your baby. Once you have a window into your child’s inner workings and development, you automatically have a leg up on fostering development and learning in your little one. In my personal opinion, smarter parent = better parent.
Let me break it down for you:
Basic parenting book: Make sure you use expressive features with your child! The end.
Experimenting With Babies: Try this project that involves using various expressions on your child. Here’s the predicted outcome of the experiment. See how your child reacted to each different expression? Here’s why. According to these scientific studies, this is how your child perceives his world, and this is what smiling and exaggerated expressions does to and for him. Make sure you use expressive features with your child.
Now which piece of advice do you think will “stick” and help you be a more effective parent?

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(Jonathan and Tessa, trying out experiment #6 – “Feet Lead The Way”.)
Through fun baby-bonding exercises, parents will learn how to:
– Test babies reflexes
– Discover how speech and gestures are coordinated
– Accurately assess babies progress with motor skills
– Garner insight into the development of language skills
– Learn methods to measure emotional, social and cognitive development
This is definitely a “read as a family book” and will stay in our homeschool curriculum for our kids to practice on young relatives in the future! It would also make a fantastic baby shower gift for the domestic geeks in your life. For my husband and I, it was amusing and entertaining to gather round our giggling baby girl and flex our mad scientist skills.
And the cool thing is, we’re not done with the book yet! The last study follows Tessa’s progress up to 24 months old. Getting a couple of years worth of entertainment and parenting tips isn’t too shabby for a 205 page book. All in all, I highly recommend this read. It’s firmly established in my “parenting shelf” now.

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(Whew! Science can be exhausting!)
A little bit about the author:
Shaun Gallagher, a father of two ongoing science experiments, is a former magazine and newspaper editor and currently a software engineer. In addition to “Experimenting With Babies,” he is also the author of “Correlated: Surprising Connections Between Seemingly Unrelated Things,” based on his website Correlated.org. He lives in Wilmington, Del., with his wife and sons.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]
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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

11 thoughts on “Experimenting With Babies Book Review

  • 16 January, 2014 at 8:07 pm
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    First off, I LOVE the title of the book! Next, it sounds like a book I’m going to
    Invest in!

    On a side note, I have another blog coming soon about cleaning the “dungeon”. 🙂

    • 17 January, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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      Yeah, the title of the book alone certainly appeals to a “type”, haha!

      Can’t wait to read your new post! ^_^

    • 18 January, 2014 at 4:29 pm
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      Did you change your webpage??

  • 16 January, 2014 at 9:32 pm
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    I love this! I wish it had been around when you kids were little. I did a bunch of things that I’d figured out just from reading and having a bit of insight from baby sitting during my teens. One thing I did when Jeremy was about 3-4 months old, I noticed when I’d hold him and show him photos of babies in the parenting magazine I subscribed to, he wanted to ‘eat’ them. Since I knew babies learned a lot at that age by literally putting things in their mouth, and in fact the whole ‘hand to mouth’ motor skill was one of the first ‘survival/learning’ skills humans have…I decided to go with it. I cut the pages out that had full/half page images of baby faces. I then used that clear shelf liner adhesive to laminate each page. Then, I just put them down on the floor when ever Jeremy had ‘play time’ on his blanket. He LOVED them! He’d creep toward them, reaching, grasping and nomming them. I would always use words and phrases that encouraged or applied to each action he’d take ‘get the baby!’, ‘kiss the baby’, ‘you love the baby!’. All with the animated voice and facial expressions. I love that there is a book that seems to follow the same train of thought…just wish I’d had it ‘way back when’! One thing though…once you have a second and a third, you will find that your older kids seem to innately do these ‘experiments’ when they play with the baby. I can see how easy it would be to have them help out! *Jeremy loved showing Gingi the babies, when I reintroduced them for her!

    • 17 January, 2014 at 1:55 pm
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      Well, now you have a GRANDBABY to try experiments on! I’m def planning on buying Jeremy and Angie a copy…

  • 16 January, 2014 at 9:38 pm
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    Thanks for the review!! I saw it at the book store and it looked awesome! I guess I’ll just have to go out and buy it now! 😛

    • 17 January, 2014 at 1:57 pm
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      Doooooooo iiiiiiiiit! ^_^

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