Exploring the sense of touch is a great kindergarten readiness activity for babies to older children. This morning we saw pussy willows and were able to bring a few home to touch and feel. They were so very soft and not just for fingers; I rubbed them on L.’s cheeks, too. To extend the activity we went on a treasure hunt around the house to find more soft things. We talked about how things felt and used other words like fluffy, scratchy, cozy, hard,etc. L. put some soft things on a pillow. (A few toys even got picked up off the floor and put away because they didn’t ‘belong’.)
Making a group of things that are soft involves lots of thinking. Kids have to hold the concept of soft in mind and then objects have to be judged and compared to see if they belong or not. Making groups and categories also makes brain connections.
Touch sensations help children develop awareness of their body. The sense of touch is also important for language and safety and how things feel can also impact emotions. Lovely as the pussy willow feels, a hug feels even better. What does your child like to touch and feel?
As if we need to encourage kids to develop their sense of touch! There’s proof they are touching lots already…the walls, the door knobs, their sticky prints on the cupboard doors and drawers. But they may not be making the brain connections between what they feel and the words that tell about it. Plus, really we touch with the skin all over out bodies, not just our hands. Exploring the sense of touch helps with brain connections and readiness for kindergarten.
Throughout the day, help your child notice different textures and how things feel. When getting ready for the day, how does the soap feel? Is it smooth and slippery? What temperature is the water? A toothbrush feels a bit poky; a hairbrush can feel scratchy. How about the towel? Shoes can sometimes feel too tight. If you are going outside, a coat or sweater might be needed because it is very cold.
There’s lots of things to feel around the house. The table may be smooth, the rug might be soft. Pillows and blankets are really soft. Is there anything bumpy at your house? Toys usually have a variety of textures, from the bumps of duplo to fuzzy stuffies to squishy playdough. While your little one is playing, take a minute to encourage your child to talk about how these toys feel. Not being careful can mean some painful touching. Bumping into things can hurt bodies in many different places.
Touch sensations help develop awareness of the body and how it is moving. They also affects emotions. Positive touch is very important for relating to others. As you can see, helping your child develop the sense of touch is important for safety, language development, healthy emotional growth and, of course, kindergarten readiness. The best way to end the day is with some hugs and cuddles. How does that feel?
Each summer, our community hosts an international race of bathtubs! These were started by a former mayor who used to dress up as a pirate, Black Frank. Pirates are such fun for kids andthey can be used to promote all kinds of learning. The Usborne book That’s not my pirate is fun for wee little ones and older pirates, too. Little toddlers love the simple text and textures on each page. Older kids enjoy the vocabulary and predictability. A fun activity is to make a texture page. Find small bits of different textures such as a smooth ribbon, a bit of sandpaper, fuzzy fabric, a bit of bumpy cardboard, a small sponge, a soft feather, etc. If appropriate, glue some of these bits on to a big paper or just put them in a little box for feeling. Have your child close his/her eyes and feel one of the textures. Without peeking, which one is it? Not only does this activity work on vocabulary and other language skills, it also helps develop the sense of touch. A small box of safe things to feel can also be used when travelling or waiting to keep a little one occupied for a few minutes. Now, that’s a treasure for parents and caregivers. What do your pirates enjoy?