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Why Wednesday: Eye Spy Water?

Why Wednesday is back! This week, inquiring pre-school minds want to know why 'water' builds up in our eyes when we yawn. I must admit, I was stumped on this one. I dare you to yawn and not feel your tear ducts well up!


Thanks to my medically informed sister, I was able to get the answer. Turns out that our facial muscles tighten up when we yawn which cause our 'watery' eye glands to be squeezed, and thus releasing a small amount of stored tears. Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate is with a squishy water toy. Squeeze the water toy gently, (or not so gently if you're anything like my spirited 2 year-old), and explain the effect of a yawn squeezing the eye glands that release little bits of watery tears.


Answering the above question got me thinking about all of the other ways our eyes produce tears...

  • Emotional responses: happy, sad, fearful, angry

  • Allergies

  • Laughter

  • Cold wind exposure

  • Sneezes

If we take the time to see the world the way these little humans do, we start to appreciate the wonders all around us. The hamster wheel of 'why' questions can be exhausting, but it often leads to amusing, insightful and teachable lessons.


As for those tears, I say those are the sparkles in our eyes. Sparkle on!


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