Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tactile Play on a Warm, Warm Day...

Looking for an indoor activity to keep your toddler entertained on a warm summer day? Set up an activity to promote TACTILE PLAY;

Touch is the sense young children learn most from in their early years. The skin contains millions of sensory receptors, allowing young children to interpret countless sensory experiences every minute. These receptors allow children to learn about their world through texture and sensation. The experience of different textures on the skin sends information back to the brain and helps integrate the sensory system. Tactile play allows children to learn about size, shape, texture and length—information which may help them as they develop a sense of their bodies and space. Messy sensory play is also a foundation skill for fine motor development—as it helps children develop muscles in the fingers and hands.

My go to tactile play activity....SENSORY BOX;

A Sensory Box is a container filled with any kind of tactile material that kids explore with their hands. With a Sensory Box children are using their sight, touch and smell to experience their environment in a new way.
Zoo themed

How to make and use your sensory box:

For the Sensory Box you will need a container to hold all the tactile materials you collect. I use a medium size storage container that has a lid ( this makes storage of your sensory box easy.)   Put down an old sheet or drop cloth to make clean up easier.

Fill your sensory box with all kinds of shapes and textures. Some of my favorite sensory box fillers include:
-dry beans
-foam packing peanuts
-squares of bubble wrap
- measuring cups
- Dry or cooked pasta ( pasta shapes are always more fun..)
-Colored rice
- Small rocks ( you pain rocks gold and silver and tell your kids it's treasure.)
- foam shapes
-Party streamers
- Small blocks and toys (small animal figures are always a hit!)
- plastic shovels and pails
-Sand toys
 * you can choose anything with a fun texture for your box. You can even get messy with pudding, shaving cream, or small pails of water....the possibilities are endless! Just make sure to watch your little ones carefully, as they do have a tendency to put everything in the mouth when they are young.

Rainbow theme (colored rice)

Place the box on top of the sheet or drop cloth and allow your child to get messy and explore.  Every once in a while, change what's in the sensory box to curb your wee one's curiosity. Lately, our sensory box has been ocean themed with sand, water, and beach toys. As I am getting ready to plant my fall garden, a garden themed sensory box is about to make it's debut.Filled with beans, a small shovel, small rake, a watering can, garden gloves and plastic fruit and veggies my little one can garden right alongside me!

Ocean themed

Garden themed

You will be surprised to notice that once the activity begins, hardly a word is said. The kids will be so busy focusing on what they are feeling, that they hardly pay attention to you. This is a wonderful indoor activity for a warm day or rainy day. Sensory boxes are great for toddler age kids, however, my little 10 month old has been enjoying his sensory box for months now. As long as the filling is age appropriate, children of all ages can enjoy sensory box time!

May your senses be overjoyed!

check out this cute ice-cream themed box....it gave me an idea to do a cooking themed box, that way my little one can cook up his imagination while I cook up a meal!
(pic via pin.)


  1. You have wonderful ideas! I will definitely have to use these! Thanks for the follow, following back!

    Jessica K

  2. What a fantastic idea! I can't wait to try this. My little guy is a little young So I think I might go with the foam shapes as a base. One of his classes we go to is focusing on tactile play this month. Very cool!

  3. Thank you for visiting my blog! I love your sensory boxes. Such wonderful ideas here! You have a new follower. :)


  4. You are brilliant, girlfriend! You really are! I MUST do this with my kids. Thanks for sharing!