Get Your Kid a Job: Baby Scientist - 510 Families
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Get Your Kid a Job: Baby Scientist

Living among the academics in the Bay Area, I was eager to enroll my children to be university lab test subjects when they were born. If that sounds super cool to you, read on to find out how to get involved in ground-breaking research on early childhood development.

Already a baby scientist with cognitive studies at Cal's Baby Lab
Cognitive studies at Cal’s Baby Lab

UC Berkeley and Mills College both have exciting research studying babies’ cognitive development. If you’ve ever wondered how you, as a parent, could contribute to the body of scientific information available on developing children, this is a great way.

Berkeley Early Learning Lab at Cal (children age 5 months through 6 years) is at The University of California, Berkeley. This lab investigates language acquisition, how children perceive the world, how they play and look at new items. A typical study takes about 15-30 minutes, but parents should plan on an hour. My sons have participated in this lab over the years.

Participating children receive a diploma along with a t-shirt or toy. They are currently building an autism panel for a long-term study. For more info on all their work, see babylab. Get involved by emailing

Early Childhood and Family Research Lab at Mills Studying development in children and families during the formative years of pregnancy through age five, their research goals are to further the understanding of the connections of normative development and developmental risk. Want to participate? They are currently seeking parents with children before birth (prenatal) through 6 years. Visit their website for more info or email to join the participant pool.

Infant Studies at Cal – The Infant Lab (or UC Baby Center) Infancy Lab at UC-Berkeley specializes in the study of rapid developmental changes in the baby, and why these changes take place. The Infant Studies Lab is typically running at least one formal study at any given time. Researchers look for fairly specific attributes for each study, for example, babies within a particular age range, or with certain level of crawling experience. Participating babies receive a small toy. To see if your baby qualifies for a current study, call them at 510-643-0614, or send an email to For more info, see

Related books: These incredible research projects make their way into published books for scholars and parents alike. Check out The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life or The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind by Alison Gopnik.

Have any of you participated in these studies before?

Future geek or Baby Scientist already?[Photo credit: Becky Matthews, Heather Flett, all rights reserved]

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3 thoughts on “Get Your Kid a Job: Baby Scientist”

  1. I first heard about the baby center through BPN. We’ve been twice now and it was really fun! It takes about an hour or less, they have a parking spot available for you when you show up (if you need it), your kid gets a toy at the end and you get to contribute to Science. Most of the time was spent playing with their toys just to get acclimated to the room and the people. The experiments themselves take only a minute or two. My daughter really enjoyed it.

    It turns out there are several labs on campus doing studies with kids, so if you sign up with one they will share your info across labs and you will get an e-mail whenever they need a kid matching your kid’s age range. Highly recommend!

  2. I first heard about the infant studies at Berkeley through the BPN list as well. Now we’ve been twice and the research is fascinating to observe. Especially after having found videos of this research so insightful when I was pregnant. I love that these questions are being asked!

  3. Pingback: Little kids wanted for cool research at Cal - 510 Families

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