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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ›   read sniff-and-smell board books. as they get older,  provide scented markers. Just be careful they are  nontoxic and don’t go into mouths. ›   When out for a walk, take time to let toddlers hold  and smell new items, so long as the item is safe.  if you pass a bakery or other business emitting a  smell, use descriptive words such as “sweet,” “sharp,”  and “icky” as you talk about the smells. ›   add lavender and other soothing aromas to hand- washing or bathwater to help infants and toddlers  relax. ›   describe and comment on the taste when new foods  are introduced. continue offering the same food for  a while, so children can become familiar with the  taste of that food. Make interesting comments that  describe the texture they are feeling plus the sweet,  salty, or sour taste. ›   connect the temperature of different foods with the  taste. Soon very young children will learn about cool,  cold, warm, and hot. touching  tasting Infants use taste to learn about their world. They have more sensory receptors in their mouths and on their tongues than anyplace else on their body. A very young child mouths a doll with her tongue and lips, tasting the skin and hair, feeling the smooth plastic of the skin in contrast to the rough strands of the hair or the terrycloth body. It is dif- ficult to separate what an infant tastes and what an infant feels when an object goes into her mouth. Since everything goes into the child’s mouth for exploration, it is important to make sure all toys are too large to be swallowed and don’t have any loose parts. Taste is intertwined with young children’s nutrition. Infants who are breast-fed often refuse formula. As they grow and are introduced to new foods, the taste buds take on a new role. It often takes patience to help a child learn to eat new foods—sometimes a new food needs to be offered ten times before a child will like it! Touch is highly developed at birth. Infants love skin-to-skin contact and respond to patting and hugging. Premature infants are often put into kangaroo care, during which they are held skin-to- skin with the mother. Infants are calmed by mas- sage; feel secure when swaddled; and feel love and nurturance when appropriately held, hugged, and touched. These types of touch have positive effects on infants’ growth and development and their emo- tional security. Young children who are not held, cuddled, and hugged may not make the necessary brain connections and may not bond with their caregivers, which can lead to mental health prob- lems at an early age. As infants mature, they reach out and touch everything in their proximity. They also explore their bodies using this sense. Hands as well as objects go i n Fa n t   &  t o d d l e r  a c t i v i t i e S support tasting ›   Make sure everything within reach is clean and  sani tized, as infants put everything into their mouths. d e v e l o p M e n t   o F   t h e   S e n S e S   17 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL