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Why Does My Child Put Toys in Their Mouth?

April 13, 2023
Preschool kids play with building bricks in while sitting on floor in daycare

Young children, especially babies and toddlers, often explore toys by putting them in their mouth. Their tongue is more sensitive then their hands and fingers, which allows them to really explore the shape and texture of their toys. This is an early step in learning about an object’s purpose and developing critical thinking skills.

For instance, when your child puts a toy block in their mouth, they are learning about it’s shape, density, flat edges and corners. In contrast, when they put a ball in their mouth, they will be learning about it’s round shape. Exploring the differences between toys is also part of their learning.

There are other benefits too!

Mouthing toys helps to:

  • strengthen and coordinate tongue, cheek, and jaw muscles needed for eating solid foods and speaking,
  • desensitize the strong gag reflex that infants are born with,
  • and build a tolerance for different food textures.

Safety Reminders:

  • Always supervise your baby with toys
  • Never use small toys that may be swallowed and cause choking
  • Avoid toys with wood that splinters or paint that chips

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