“If it wasn’t in hands and body, it can’t be in the brain.” – Bev Bos said.
Children are scientists, investigators and explorers by nature. Sure enough, all the materials they find in their environment have the potential to lure them. How many times, as a child, have you observed an anthill or dipped your hands into the sand or soil to find out what it felt like? Those activities prompt the development of our perception and encourage self–regulation, the key for a positive growth of our emotional intelligence.
Children love exploring the world because they need to feed their senses. Before children spend much time outdoors, many children are forced to play at home or in closed spaces, so their senses are only pushed by indoor activities. What is the best way for stimulating their senses? Sensory play. Today we are deepening this topic and we are going to talk about the plays that incite tactile sense’s development.
Sensory exploration improves cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural development. Young children have a physical and emotional desire to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste things. Sensory toys help your little ones explore and learn about the world around them, providing a particular sensory input that has the power to capture our kids’ attention, making a powerful senses reinforcement and helping them engage with their perceptions. Do you know which toys are suitable to promote your baby’s tactile development?
Before you introduce them, we must specify that we can consider sensory play as an activity and as a toy too.
As an activity, sensory play is based on the mix of different materials that your child needs to improve their development. You can fill the basket or the bag with objects of natural origin (examples: pinecones, shells, chestnuts, stones), objects of natural materials (examples: balls of wool or cotton), objects in leather, fabric, rubber, fur, metal (as bunches of keys, chains, kitchen whips, saucepans), etc. Children must insert their hand into the bag and test different texture and materials, trying to guess what they are touching.
As toys, there are a million of sensory ones that grow with you kids. For new-borns, cradle carousels and rattles are their first sensory play. Always effective for visual sense development in the earlier months of life, they become interesting for tactile development as soon as the child independently begins to grasp things with his hands.
Objects to bite such as wooden rattles and cloth toys are powerful for tactile development because they provide different textures that children can safely engage with, using their teeth/mouth.
Why not give it a try with a ring rattle? Our Ring Rattle is made from a safe, rice-based material, and it is very easy to grab and hold.
How about the Flowerini? Made with fun, crinkly textures and a cute bell, these three cute fairy dolls turn into pretty flowers. Attach the flowers to a stroller or crib to entertain your little ones and help them discover more textures!
The Portable baby gym is perfect for tactile first discoveries. This portable baby gym features a hanging apple, a bee with fluttering wings, and a flower that will delight little eyes. Once the babies are lured by these hanging elements, they will want to grab them experimenting a new tactile experience.
You might be wondering if tactile development is a process that only involves infants.
The answer is no. Older children can still develop tactile abilities, but the focus will change from texture recognition to gross and fine motor skills.
Cloth toys in particular from a toddler perspective like the Fruit basket might be the best choice. With this toy, children can play with six soft vegetables, a hard/flat surface with the wooden knife that handles easily for babies’ fingers to grasp and hold. They can pop the peas from their pod, peel the cabbage leaves, and cut the carrot & eggplant in half.
Children can be provided with different tactile developmental benefits with wooden toys. Our kitchen line contains many that fit this theme. For example, the fruit play set contains removable stalks and one slice of fruit, all of which can be sliced with the realistic play knife.
Last but not least, another fun and instructive toy could be the tactile alphabet. This is a tablet that contain the letters of the alphabet which are removable. This type of play allows children have the lead on both tablet and letters. They will attempt to fit the pieces to be inserted in the spaces. Have your children ever tried the Chunky alphabet puzzle? Learning the alphabet is even more fun now! This puzzle provides children an introduction to capital letters to take their first steps towards reading and writing comprehension.
There are a lot of sensory toys and a lot of sensory activity to help your child’s development, just choose one to start with and remember to vary the play to see them learn and grow
Which tactile sensory toy will they choose first?
Pepe Pull Along
Sit. Stand. Roll. Teach this silly dog some tricks. Clever design allows this cute puppy to be placed in a number of fun positions. Help your child balance the dog in different positions. Talk about the different positions and help them understand why. Toddlers will enjoy taking this friendly puppy for walks.
Mini Band Set
Start making your own music with this beginner’s instrument set! Learn to play the ukulele, tambourine, clapper, rattle and rainmaker yourself – then bring your friends together and start a band.
Robot Factory Domino
Use stored potential energy to catapult a wooden ball into the air with this exciting robot-themed domino set! A tipper car, crazy ball track, tipper arm and series of ramps form an exciting robot production line that you can build again and again.
Nature Detective Set
Get a close-up look at leaves, bugs and the rest of nature with this handy 4x magnifying glass! When you find something interesting, use the two tones on the whistle to inform your friends.
Toddler Kitchen Set
Prepare delicious meals for your family and friends! This fun wooden stove comes with one pot with lid, one frying pan, one spoon and one spatula for you to cook with. Features knobs which click cutely when turned. Store your pot and pan in the spaces behind the hob when you're done.