Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Playing with Food = Better Learning

Researchers at the University of Iowa studied 16 month old children's exposure to 14 non solid objects such as applesauce, pudding and juice.  The researchers presented the items and created fictional names.  One minute later the children were asked to identify the same non-solid objects in different sizes or shapes.  The toddlers willingly interacted with the non solid objects.  The researchers found the following results:
  • the toddlers who interacted the most with the non-solid objects were the most likely to correctly identify the objects by texture and name them
  • children in a high chair were more likely to identify and name the objects versus than those in other seated positions (ie at a table).
This is extremely interesting to me.  From a developmental perspective, I would guess the stability of the high chair assists the child with postural control therefore freeing up the hands, shoulders and brain to learn about textures, shapes and sizes.  Would love to see this study repeated analyzing the child's postural control throughout the experiment.  In addition, I would love to see this study explored further with children who play outdoors in the dirt, mud or sand. 

Regardless, this research supports all the therapeutic sensory, tactile play we recommend to parents and teachers.  Your thoughts?

Reference:  Lewis, R. Messy Children Make Better Learners.  University of Iowa.  Retrieved from the web on 12/3/13 at  http://now.uiowa.edu/2013/10/messy-children-make-better-learners.

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