Conversation and object manipulation influence children's learning in a museum

Erin A. Jant, Catherine A. Haden*, David H. Uttal, Elizabeth Babcock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The effects of parent-child conversation and object manipulation on children's learning, transfer of knowledge, and memory were examined in two museum exhibits and conversations recorded at home. Seventyeight children (Mage = 4.9) and their parents were randomly assigned to receive conversation cards featuring elaborative questions about exhibit objects, the physical objects themselves, both, or neither, before their exhibitvisits. Dyads who received the cards engaged in more elaborative talk and joint nonverbal activities with objects in the first exhibit than those who did not. Dyads who received objects engaged in the most parent-child joint talk. Results also illustrate transfer of information across exhibits and from museum to home. Implications for understanding mechanisms of informal learning and transfer are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2029-2045
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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