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Child’s Play – Activities To Enhance Touch

Young children can learn so much from tactile experiences.  The sense of touch is a great tool to discovering the world and the fascinating things it holds!

Hidden objects can be great sensory experiences.  Place objects in a paper sack or a box for children to experience through touch.  Objects from nature, such as pine cones, leaves, rocks, flowers and sand, are excellent items.  Also try things such as cooked spaghetti (in a plastic container instead of a paper bag, though!), ice cubes, cotton balls and sandpaper!

Make your own touch and feel page.  Create a simple drawing add tactile objects (felt, salt, sandpaper, aluminum foil, cotton, etc).  Or, cut a picture from a magazine, catalog or old greeting card and turn it into a touch and feel picture with a few sensory items.  Kids will love creating these for each other as well!

Try a temperature experiment!  Take two bowls and fill one with cool water, the other with warm water.  Place one hand in each for a minute, then put both hands in lukewarm water.  The “cool water hand” will seem warmer, even though both hands are in the same temperature of water!  Have child try to figure out why hands feel as if they are in different-temperature water when in fact in same bowl.

Play with playdough or clay.  The act of squeezing and kneading dough is a great way to strengthen hand muscles.  Use pre-made dough or make your own.  Try to make your own silly putty also.  Kids will love stretching the putty and kneading it together as well!  To make silly putty, combine 1 cup of elmers glue and 1 cup of laundry starch.  Knead until thoroughly mixed.  Keep it in an airtight container.  This can also be tinted with food coloring or watercolor!

Reduce, REUSE, Recycle

Like most of us, I get oodles of mail throughout the week, but only a handful of things that are truly necessary.  While my family is extremely conscious of our recycling efforts and recycle all the paper we get in the mail, I have found that several pieces of mail can be reused as quick and fun activities for my boys.

The best “junk mail” or “mass mailers” are the ones that come with freebies – labels, notepads, bookmarks, and calendars.  I sort through these items, putting contribution request forms in one pile, explanation letters in the recycle bin, and the stickers, labels and other items in an envelope.  My husband and I go through the contribution requests towards the end of the year (which is probably why we are on so many mailing lists that send us these things!) to make donations, and the kids get to have some fun with the extras that come along with these requests.

I save up return envelopes for the kids as well.  The boys will write letters, make drawings, or even create lists (this week it was a Christmas list) on the freebie notepads.  Then, they stuff these into the envelopes which they then decorate with stickers and return address labels.  My older son loves to cut the little pictures off of the address labels and use just the picture stickers for decorating, while my younger son (age 4) simply loves seeing how many stickers he pile on the envelope.

This is a great activity for restaurants, doctor’s offices, anyplace where kids need something to occupy their time.  It is small and easy enough to stuff into a purse or bag, and when you reuse things you receive in the mail, the cost is appealing as well!

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