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Child Care Resources | Why Do Toddlers Put Things In Their Mouths?

Child Care Resources & Tips | Spending time with your toddler can be as fun as it is necessary for your developing little one. A child’s brain develops very rapidly as they observe and explore the world around them, and even the smallest and seemingly most mundane activities can help your child make strong and meaningful neurological connections that will help them throughout the rest of their lives. Some of the most important activities that you can do with your toddler are “sensory” activities, which are activities that allow your child to use his or her senses, be it taste, smell, sound, or touch.

A Developmental Milestone

You’ve probably noticed your child’s propensity for putting objects in their mouth, and more likely than not it’s usually an object that you’d prefer them not to eat. Let’s face it: it’s basically impossible to completely stop your toddler from putting random objects in their mouth.

It may surprise you, however, that it is actually important for you to allow your young child to put certain, safe objects in their mouths. Called “oral exploration,” this odd toddler habit is actually a sign that your child has reached a very critical stage of development. This is one of the main ways that your toddler explores his or her world, and should actually be encouraged (with safe objects, of course.) At A Child’s Academy, we regularly encourage our toddlers to safely explore their worlds using all of their senses.

Sensory Project Example | Child Care Resources

One fun taste-focused sensory project to do with your little ones at home involves sweet versus sour tastes.

  1. Find 5 small containers. You can use plastic or glass cups, plates, or even napkins for this project.
  2. Gather together a bite-sized amount of five different sweet and sour foods. We recommend a lemon slice, a purple grape (cut in half), a dill pickle chip (cut in half), a sugar cube, and a banana slice (cut in half), although any combination of sweet and sour foods will do.
  3. Have your baby taste test each food item, and make sure to say “sweet” or “sour” with each taste they take.
  4. If your baby is hesitant to try a new food, it always helps to try some first in front of your little one! This will show your toddler that the food is “okay” and safe to eat. Believe it or not, your young child knows how you feel about them putting strange objects in their mouth, and will occasionally need a little bit of encouragement to know that it really is okay to put this item in their mouths in front of you.

This extremely simple project is as entertaining as it is educational for your toddlers. The great thing about this easy sensory project is that the types of food you are letting your child try can be exchanged in order for you to allow your child to compare a range of different flavors. You can try comparing hot versus cold, spicy versus mild, or soft versus hard foods, just to name a few. if you’re in Gainesville Florida looking for the city’s number one preschool, contact us at a Child’s Academy today!

Gainesville Preschool | Child Care Resources & Tips

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