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Fantastic Five Senses: Sense of Touch Activities for Preschool Kids

The Sense of Touch is a sense that not only makes us aware of our surroundings but is also crucial to our living and well-being. A child deprived of human touch cannot survive, it is the most important sense for infants. Humans find joy, bonding, relief of pain and stress, and contentment from loving touches, whether emotional, intimate or social. Touch can even heal. Teaching small kids about the sense of touch is a load of fun and allows for a wide range of activities and improvisation. You can see all our posts on the five senses here.

Basics of "Sense of Touch"

The biological facts related to the sense of touch can be explained in the simplest way by touching something and saying that this is touch, and when we touch something, we feel how it is with our skin. A more complex information for older kids would be that skin is the primary organ of touch that we use for sending information to brain when we touch something, and we can get information about temperature, texture, firmness/softness, with our skin. Our sense of touch is strongest on our fingertips and tongue. Nonetheless, we are able to perceive touch on all parts of our skin.

In these videos you can see how important touch is for us.

In this post, I have written about how I did the sense of touch activities with my daughter.

Describing Touch Types

Name the texture:

First we learned names of common 14 textures (excluding wet and dry) and matched them to their examples. Those were hot, cold, soft, hard, smooth, rough, furry, fluffy, grainy, silky, leathery, bumpy, slimy, squishy and slippery.

Texture Games: Touch & Match Games: match the textures:

Then we matched two objects having the same texture.

Touch & Match Games are a fun and engaging way to teach children about the sense of touch while also enhancing their memory, concentration, and cognitive skills. Here's how to create and conduct Touch & Match Games for your little ones:

  1. Choose a safe space: Pick a comfortable and hazard-free area for the child to play, whether it's indoors or outdoors.

  2. Gather pairs of objects: Collect pairs of objects that are identical in shape, size, and texture but different from the other pairs. Examples include matching pairs of stones, fabric swatches, plastic toys, or foam shapes. The number of pairs should be appropriate for the child's age and skill level.

  3. Prepare the objects: Place the objects in a container, such as a box or a bag, making sure they are mixed up and not visible to the child.

  4. Introduce the game: Explain the objective of the game to the child, emphasizing that they will need to use their sense of touch to find matching pairs of objects without looking.

  5. Playing the game: Have the child reach into the container and pick up two objects. Encourage them to explore each object's texture, shape, and size, and to determine if they are a matching pair. If they find a match, they can set the pair aside and continue with the next attempt. If not, they should return the objects to the container and try again.

  6. Encourage communication: Ask open-ended questions during the game to help the child describe the objects and their thought process as they determine whether the items match or not.

  7. Track progress: Keep track of the number of attempts it takes the child to match all the pairs. This can be a fun way to measure improvement over time, as they become more familiar with the objects and develop their sense of touch.

  8. Customize the game: Adjust the difficulty level or theme of the game according to the child's age, interests, and learning goals. You can add more pairs, introduce objects with similar but not identical textures, or use objects related to a specific subject (such as fruits or shapes) to challenge the child further.

Touch & Match Games offer an enjoyable and educational experience for children, as they develop their sense of touch, memory, and concentration in a playful and interactive setting.

Stereognosis Games

Then we played stereognostic game to train our sense of touch. The stereognostic sense is our ability to identify an object based on touch alone without looking at it, smelling it, tasting it or hearing its sounds.

One of the simplest ways of doing a stereognostic game is to keep a variety of small objects in an attractive cloth bag. The child reaches into the bag and searches for an object, feels it, describes it shape and texture and then takes it out and verifies their guess. Of course the child should be familiar with all of the objects in the bag and should be able to identify them by touch alone. The second way is to keep pairs of identical random objects or pairs of same shaped objects. Then a third way could be to keep objects having the same shape but different sizes.

After having played the game with household objects, we played the game with two types of mystery bags – one with sets of 5 pairs of spheres that vary in size and one with 8 different pairs of small 3D geometrical solids.

Blindfold Exploration Activity

First we inspected all the objects and then I blindfolded my daughter and she matched all the pairs. But instead of a closed bag, I used an open box. Super fun!!

Blindfolded Explorations are a great way to engage children in sensory experiences that focus on their sense of touch, while also promoting trust, communication, and problem-solving skills.

To conduct a successful and safe Blindfolded Exploration activity, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a safe space: Select a safe and clutter-free area where the child can move without the risk of injury. This could be indoors or outdoors, as long as the space is secure and free of hazards.

  2. Gather interesting objects: Collect a variety of objects with diverse textures, shapes, and sizes that the child will explore during the activity. You can include everyday items, toys, or natural materials such as rocks, leaves, or pinecones.

  3. Prepare the child: Gently explain the activity to the child and emphasize the importance of using their sense of touch to explore the objects. Assure them that you'll be there to guide and support them throughout the activity.

  4. Use a blindfold: Use a comfortable, non-restrictive blindfold to cover the child's eyes. Make sure it is secure enough to block out their vision but not too tight.

  5. Guided exploration: Hand the child one object at a time and encourage them to explore it using their sense of touch. Ask open-ended questions to help them describe the object's texture, shape, and size, as well as to guess what it might be.

  6. Encourage communication: For a more interactive experience, work in pairs or small groups. One child can be blindfolded while the other guides them to objects or directs them through a safe obstacle course using only verbal instructions. The children can then switch roles.

  7. Reflect on the experience: After the activity, discuss with the child what they discovered and how they felt during the blindfolded exploration. Talk about the challenges they faced and the strategies they used to identify the objects.

  8. Adapt the activity: You can tailor the blindfolded exploration to suit the child's age, interests, and learning goals by selecting objects and challenges relevant to their current needs or curriculum.

Always remember to closely supervise the activity and ensure the child feels comfortable and supported during the exploration. Blindfolded Exploration Activities provide a unique and engaging way to develop a child's sense of touch while building essential life skills.

Sensory Activities

Sensory activities are also an excellent way to explore the sense of touch with kids. Check out these sensory activities:

Other touch related sensory activities to try with your child are:

DIY Sensory Bins:

DIY Sensory Bins are a fantastic, customizable tool for providing children with a hands-on sensory experience that engages their sense of touch. They allow children to explore different textures, shapes, and sizes, promoting the development of fine motor skills, creativity, and cognitive abilities.

To create a DIY Sensory Bin, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a container: Find a large, shallow container or plastic tub that will comfortably accommodate your child's hands and the materials you plan to include.

  2. Select a base material: Fill the container with a base material that offers a unique texture or sensation. Popular choices include rice, dry pasta, sand, water beads, shredded paper, or playdough.

  3. Add variety: Introduce a mix of small toys, natural items, or household objects that vary in texture, shape, and size. Consider using items like seashells, toy cars, plastic animals, foam shapes, or fabric scraps to add interest and stimulate your child's curiosity.

  4. Incorporate learning elements: Enhance the educational value of the sensory bin by adding items related to a specific theme, such as colors, numbers, letters, or seasonal elements. For example, you might include letter-shaped magnets for an alphabet-themed bin or plastic insects for a nature-themed bin.

  5. Encourage exploration: Allow your child to freely explore the sensory bin using their hands or provide them with tools like tweezers, scoops, or small containers for added fun and learning opportunities.

  6. Supervise play: Always supervise your child during sensory play to ensure their safety and to help guide their learning experiences. Encourage them to describe the textures and objects they encounter to build their vocabulary and understanding of the sense of touch.

You can change the contents of the sensory bin to keep it fresh and exciting, or to align with new themes and learning goals. The possibilities are endless with DIY Sensory Bins, allowing you to tailor the experience to your child's interests and needs.

Textured Collage Making

Textured Collages are a creative and hands-on way for children to explore their sense of touch while developing fine motor skills, artistic expression, and cognitive abilities. To create a Textured Collage with your child, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a theme: Select a theme for the collage that appeals to the child's interests or is relevant to their learning goals. This could be based on a specific subject, such as nature, seasons, animals, or shapes.

  2. Gather materials: Collect a variety of materials with diverse textures, such as fabric scraps, sandpaper, bubble wrap, buttons, feathers, ribbon, foil, or yarn. Make sure the items are safe and age-appropriate for the child.

  3. Prepare the canvas: Provide a sturdy base for the collage, such as a piece of cardboard, poster board, or heavy paper. The size of the base will depend on the desired scale of the collage and the available materials.

  4. Plan the layout: Encourage the child to arrange the materials on the base in a way that aligns with the chosen theme. They can create patterns, shapes, or scenes using the different textures. This step helps the child to visualize their design and develop spatial awareness.

  5. Attach the materials: Once the child is satisfied with the layout, help them securely attach the materials to the base using glue, tape, or other appropriate adhesives. For younger children, you might need to assist with cutting materials or handling sharp objects.

  6. Encourage exploration: As the child creates their Textured Collage, ask open-ended questions about the different textures and materials they are using. This helps them to develop their vocabulary and understand the tactile properties of each item.

  7. Display the collage: When the Textured Collage is complete, display it in a prominent place where the child can view and touch their creation. This encourages a sense of pride and accomplishment, and further reinforces their understanding of textures.

  8. Adapt the activity: Tailor the Textured Collage to suit the child's age, interests, and learning goals by selecting materials and themes that align with their current needs or curriculum.

Learning Activities about Touch

Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)

Plant whose leaves fold up in response to touch. You may have this plant at your home or in your locality. Show the children how touching the leaves triggers a folding-up protective response in this plant.

Safe Touch Unsafe Touch or Good Touch Bad Touch

Talking about touch is an appropriate opportunity to tell the child about "Good Touch and Bad Touch". There are many videos on YouTube, including videos in regional languages. Please watch the videos first before showing to your child. Also talk about the issue to the child before showing the video. It is natural for the child to be confused about the issue for years to come, as they really do not understand the matter of sexual abuse at all. But patience and gentleness in telling them about boundaries of touch and privacy will slowly make them understand what to allow and what not to allow, even if they don't understand the reasons fully.

You can also do a "Safe Circle" activity as suggested in the video above.

Cuddly Books to Read!


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