Let Babies Play With Food?
Parents with messy eaters should just grin and bear it the next time mini-me makes a mess on the high chair.
Let them eat -- and play -- with cake! It appears that the messier a child gets while playing with food in the high chair, the more he or she is learning.
As TIME reports, "Researchers from the University of Iowa (UI) studied how 16 month olds learn the words for non-solid objects—things as oatmeal or applesauce or milk—that infants generally take longer to learn and found that those who messed with the substance the most learned the words more quickly."
For the study, researchers put goopy substances like applesauce, pudding, juice, or soup in front of kids. As they fed the kids, researchers gave the food made up names, such as “dax” or “kiv.” A minute later, the kids were asked to identify the same food when presented in a different size or shape. Turns out, the kids who played with the food more -- touching, spreading, splashing, throwing -- could better recall the names. If you think about it, kids who just stare at a cup of white liquid won't be able to tell if it's milk or glue. Better let them explore. Parents, take that as you will.
Being in a high chair also helped. “It turns out that being in a high chair makes it more likely you’ll get messy, because kids know they can get messy there,” said Larissa Samuelson, associate professor in psychology at UI. “Playing with these foods there actually helped these children in the lab, and they learned the names better.”
Are you letting your kids play with food now?