Touch is a very important sense which has a great influence on physical and psychological development of a child. In the first days and months, a baby needs contact with mother’s skin in order to feel safe and within subsequent phases, touch influences the development of the baby’s nervous and emotional system. What is more, touch motivates the growth of connections in the brain, increases physical abilities and influences… speech development. It is thus worth to take special care of this unique sense.
Here come 5 activities developing your kid’s sense of touch!
1. Painting without a brush
We won’t have to prepare much for this activity. The kid will just need basic paints, e.g. poster ones, as well as paper to preserve the works of their imagination. Remember to appropriately protect the floor, carpet and all those places which may get dirty. Your child’s mind is absorptive and abstract, so don’t limit the painting exclusively to hands. Let your little one use their arms, feet and elbows, which will bring them even more fun! If you manage to buy special non-toxic body paints you can be sure that your kids will love creating landscapes on a “living organism”.
2. Treasure containers
In order to develop their sense of touch, your child needs to have contact with different structures. For this activity you can use many different things that you have at home, for example potting soil, rice, groats, salt, flour, gel or other substances. The products should represent different structures for the child to notice differences between them, e.g. in their thickness, smoothness or size. Just fill in the containers with “treasures” and for the child it will be a perfect opportunity to develop their sensory integration. If you let your child help you in the kitchen and give them their own tools, e.g. a sieve, some flour or peas and containers to pour the substance from one to the other they will also be able to exercise their sense of touch and discover different consistencies!
3. Sensory blanket
Have you ever wondered why babies usually stop crying right after one of their parents hugs them? Close physical contact and touch activate the secretion of oxytocin and normalize the functioning of the nervous system, responsible for staying calm and controlling one’s emotions. But what to do when we have to drive to a longer distance or do housework? In order to fill in the “void” connected with our absence we can use a therapeutic sensory blanket. Using it stimulates the same mechanisms as touching our near and dear ones! The baby unconsciously feels safe and free from any danger. Such duvet or blanket with special thicker filling enables the stimulation of receptors responsible for deep feeling, thanks to which our little ones feel relaxed and fall asleep faster.
4. Water fun
Water fun can be really exciting and most importantly, it can support the development of the sense of touch! Just put different toys, empty containers, bowls and boxes into the bath (or basin) and check together with your kid which of them drown and which still float on the surface. You can also use small stones, pinecones or sand collected together. Another time you can also perform a colorful rainbow! Use colorful dragees – fruit or chocolate ones and arrange them in a circle on the plate. Then pour some hot water (only together with parents!) and watch how a spectacular rainbow is formed. Finally you can also use toothpicks to create patterns on this colorful surface.
5. Having fun cooking
Having fun cooking, but… for real! It is so simple that we tend to forget about it. We want to do everything faster, preferably when our cuties are sleeping to avoid mess in the kitchen. But sometimes it is worth to devote some more time in order for our little one to actively exercise the sense of touch. We can prepare together for example dumplings or cookies and our baby’s satisfaction and joy will for sure be worth slightly bigger effort. While preparing the dough together, we take loose flour, we pour water, break an egg – different consistencies and structures and mixing them together is so interesting. And we get a tangible or even tasty result! What is more, cooking or baking stimulates as many as three senses: the touch, smell and taste!