As a mother, you are most likely aware of how much your preschooler likes to use his hands. Like when he shoves both hands into the bowl of cake batter you are making for a school fundraiser. Or when you are shopping and he has to touch and feel every item you pass, even the breakable dishes in Pottery Barn. What you might not realize is how all this sensory activity is positively affecting his development. Children learn by investigating the world around them using their sense of touch. By planning some lessons that allow your preschooler to explore the textures of soft and hard, you are not only stimulating him cognitively and creatively, but you are also guaranteed to make him smile.
Take your little adventurer on a scavenger hunt to find both soft and hard items. Start indoors and give him clear instructions as to which items are off limits. You probably don't want him touching your expensive china. Next, try going outdoors to see what textures can be found in nature. Give your little one a basket to collect all his items in and when he is done have him sort them into two separate piles.
Ready to put your child's problem solving skills to work? Gather a bag that is not transparent, and fill it with various items that are both soft and hard. You might use cotton balls, tree bark, silk, a hard toy, a sponge or sandpaper. Remember when gathering items, the more you decide to choose, the longer you will have to spend playing the game. Blindfold your preschooler and have him reach his hand in pulling out one object at a time, describing its texture and trying to guess what it is.
Do you have a little Picasso on your hands? Give your child a variety of soft and hard items and let him get creative by creating a texture collage. Provide items such as cotton balls, scraps of paper, cardboard and nature objects. Give him construction paper and glue and let him work with textures to create his masterpiece.
Once your child has a feel for soft and hard items, challenge him by asking him to guess an object's texture simply by looking at it. Look through magazines and let him cut out pictures of items that he thinks would feel soft. Discuss each picture with him and then have him glue the pictures on a piece of construction paper, writing the word "soft" above them. Repeat the activity by having him to do same thing, only this time looking for hard items.