Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Playing IS Learning: Young Explorers - Mouthing & Sensory Exploration

In early development it may seem that children need to put everything in their mouths--building blocks, puzzle pieces, the occasional board book. Many may wonder, often with valid concerns for infants' and toddlers’ health and safety:

Why must young children put things in their mouths?

Why is mouthing important?
can be described as children's exploration of objects (or hands or feet) using their mouths. Mouthing is an important way to help infants and toddlers better understand their sense of touch and learn more about objects in their environment--especially those that are new to them. It gives them an introduction to texture, size and function. Children also use mouthing as a feeding behavior and as a comforting and soothing tool (Ruff, et al., 1992).

DCM: Keeping Your Infant or Toddler Safe and Healthy
Young children will explore using all of their senses.  Therefore, DCM follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local health department’s recommendations for cleaning and sanitization of props and surfaces. Daily and weekly cleaning schedules ensure exhibit components are disinfected.

The following are other things visitors can do to help keep DCM safe and clean:
· Mesh bags and toy returns found throughout the Museum can be used to deposit any toys that have been mouthed (Carpenter, 2008).
· Visitors may use disinfectant wipes found in the three Young Explorers areas to wipe up areas affected.
· Remember that hand washing is the best way to fend off germs.
· Please watch what your infant or toddler mouths. Most toys in the Young Explorers areas of the Museum are not choke hazards. However, many other exhibits have pieces that may be. Always supervise your infant or toddler.

Carpenter, J.  "How Clean is Clean?" Hand to Hand-Association of Children's Museums (2008).
Keagan, Paul, Origins of intelligence in children, in Michael Tomosello's The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition (1999).
Ruff HA, Saltarelli LM, Capozzoli M, Dubiner K. The differentiation of activity in infants’ exploration of objects. Developmental Psychology (1992).

No comments:

Post a Comment