Common Household Materials for Tactile Exploration and Learning:
- Beans or Rice tubs- Find buried treasures hidden within! Fill a small container that can be used more than once and add fun treasures for you child to dig for. These items can include creepy crawlers, toy cars or action figures. In addition, while playing games with small pieces, have you child find them in the bean or rice bin. The textures of the rice and/or beans provide different textures for you child to explore.
- Shaving cream– Use shaving cream on a mirror, table, the bathtub or anywhere else that can be easily be wiped clean. Kids can simply explore their tactile sense by covering their hands with this fluffy foam. They can also spread a thin layer over a flat surface and practice their pre-writing or writing, For example, have your child draw pictures….like Pictionary!
- “Goo”– Mix cornstarch, water and food coloring in a bowl and mix ingredients together. This slimy substance will feel dry when it is squeezed, but then drips through your fingers.
- Hair Gel– Put colored hair gel in a secure plastic freezer bag, add tape over the zipper for extra protection. Kids can use their finger to draw letters, shapes and designs.
- Paint– Ditch the brushes and have fun with finger paint! Create an extra challenge by painting on a vertical surface, such as an easel or on paper attached to the wall. Performing any tasks on a vertical plane can improve shoulder stability. It can also provide the needed support for your child’s handwriting and fine motor control. Touching the paint with your hands provides the tactile input and also promotes body awareness.
- Art Dough– In a bowl, mix together 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of iodized salt and 1 ¾ cups of warm water. Have your child knead this mixture for about 10 minutes. Mold the clay with your child…the possibilities are endless! Once the creation is perfected, bake at 300 degrees until hard and let it air dry for a few days. Once dry, these can be painted or decorated. The activity also improves hand strength as well as provide tactile input.
Overall, these are quick, fun and easy activities that not only provide your child with a rich sensory experience, but they all address many other areas of development! Other areas that are addressed include, but are not limited to, fine motor coordination, motor planning, should stability and visual motor skills. Please consult a occupational therapist for additional information or more tactile activities. Happy exploring!