Textures are everywhere. You feel them in your clothes, on your body when you touch something and in your mouth when you eat something. Unsurprisingly, some can be more than a bit unusual to toddlers. If you're ready to get down and dirty, teaching the different textures can be as much fun for you as it is for them.
Soft and Fluffy
Feeling something soft is one of life's little pleasures that even your little tyke delights in several times a day. The feel of a soft baby blanket, a puppy's fur or a warm, fuzzy hat can sometimes immediately make your toddler feel good, not to mention a soft fabric is probably one of your little escapes during a hectic day. Some everyday items that have a soft texture may include a favorite stuffed animal, a fleece sweater and cotton balls.
Grainy has to be one of the favorites for many tykes. The feel of sand running through your fingers or in between your toes is something even many adults treasure. It's a fun texture to let kids explore, too, and more easily containable -- and less messy -- than you might think. A sand table or shallow plastic tote lid with a thin layer of sand, sugar or salt is a fun way to teach kids what grainy feels like. Tracing letters in the sand or letting sugar run through their fingers or over their hands lets them not only feel the texture, but learn about its properties. Another fun activity for them is putting sand or glitter in their non-toxic finger paints and letting them go to town creating colorful works of textured art that all moms will proudly display on the front of the refrigerator.
What do a polished rock, piece of satin, a flattened Mylar balloon and a window have in common? They're all smooth-textured and easily touched for a learning experience for little tykes. When teaching "smooth," point out that there are no bumps and it's not soft. Have fun putting your cheek on a cool window or running a smooth rock up and down your arm -- and encourage the kids to join in with your smooth operation.
Rough and Bumpy
Rough and bumpy things are fun to touch and run your fingers and hands over. These items may be hard to find around your day care center or home, but if you look hard enough, they're there. Burlap and sandpaper have different types of rough surfaces. A tightly woven basket, for example, has a rough, bumpy texture upon feeling it. A single layer of macaroni noodles or beans spread in the bottom of a pan has a rough texture when you place your hand on it. Other bumpy or rough textures include some materials, the seam of a baseball or snakeskin.
Fun With Texture
Texture is everywhere, so teaching it and letting toddlers explore can be fun, exciting activities throughout the day. Make a meal of different textured foods such as soft peaches, rough toast and bumpy, chewy granola bars. Put different-textured items in closed boxes and let the children feel them without seeing them. "Paint" with water or shaving foam to feel the different textures while creating art.