All my life I have had this weird ‘thing’ with touching different textures. To this day I walk through a store and run my fingertips along the items displayed for sale. Just like a child. I’m not entirely sure why, I often find when I touch a certain fabric I get thrown into a memory and get this overwhelming feeling. It can be a good memory, or it can be an overwhelmingly bad one.
Oh man, I’m sounding crazy, aren’t I?
What I’m trying to say is that when I am walking through a store and I touch a soft piece of clothing, I can suddenly be reminded of my GG’s house in Parksville. Running to her, gardening for her, eating sandwiches soup and crackers with her at the dining table. Much like a familiar smell would bring back memories, I also get memories brought by touching textures. This memory is very nice and happy, but also sad. Because I miss my GG very, very much.
Ta-da, not so crazy anymore, hey? I get overwhelmed with a memory, it can be bittersweet. That’s the word I’m looking for.
Touch and Feel EVERYTHING
As a result of my liking to touch everything, I can’t really get upset when my Bean touches everything in the store. When we go shopping and he isn’t strapped into a stroller, Gregory gets free reign of anything in his reach. Most parents dread this, as it bodes for trouble, a mess, and danger. Quickly Gregory learned that we are gentle and can touch but not lift up in our hands. I found by not being a parent that says ‘don’t touch that’ and ‘no!’, Gregory listens much better when I ask him to put something down and keep looking for our next item on the list.
Our shopping trips are much easier when my toddler is allowed to explore the world we are venturing into. It’s very exciting, large, new, loud, bright, shiny… the list is endless of how a Little looks at life presented before them. It’s old, boring and repetitive for us.
As an adult, I forget that Gregory is new and needs to touch and feel and experience the world. As a parent I’ve learned that the more at ease I am with letting my Little explore, touch and feel, the faster he learns, accepts and moves on to the next activity life has to offer.
Novelty Wears Off
The acceptance of an object for what it is, that’s what toddlers are doing when they discover it.
Question, how often do you sit down and watch your toddler discover and play? For real, be honest. I didn’t used to. When Gregory was a baby I’d have him do tummy time and I’d go about the chores at home. When we bought a camera I video taped him one day.
When I watched the video I saw my Bean discover his surroundings, his hands, the pillow, the carpet, the flashing light on the camera. His facial expressions changed drastically as he soaked in this new information he was now uncovering.
Once He discovered the object to the full extent of his liking, he moved onto the next object. I was in awe at how entertaining it was for me to watch my son discover. I now can pick out Gregory’s ‘Discovery Face’ frequently throughout the day, and it makes me so excited that he is questioning his world, finding answers to his problems and seeking out more knowledge. It’s so important to encourage this behaviour, and one way of helping encourage it is by letting your children touch and feel all sorts of textures.
I’m telling you, once the novelty wears off, the items isn’t interesting anymore. It’s old news and can be put aside. So if you have an object that your Little wants to hold onto all the time, like a DVD case, hand it over. As long as the object is safe, or you’re right there keeping a close eye to ensure nothing gets broken or baby harmed, let your child explore. They need to explore and experience the world for themselves for the novelty to wear off. This is why I allow my son to touch and feel objects everywhere we go. I encourage it… most the time.
Touch and Feel Books
I love touch and feel books. They are great sensory books that let your child explore without you putting in effort of hunting things down in your house, or going out to find textures in the store or outside. Touch and feel books are convenient, versatile and lots of entertainment. I’ve compiled a list of our favourite touch and feel books we’ve had come through our RAD house. I was gifted some, and bought the rest myself.
These touch and feel books were great for the 6 days of the week that we don’t go out shopping and have the adventure of touching all that we can get our hands on. I’d love to create our own Touch and Feel book from fabric we pick out at the fabric store, but that’ll be for another day as I’m thinking it’s an all day activity. If you’re like me an need a quick purchase to satisfy your touch and feel book need, check out these ones below.
Little Feet Like
This was one of the first, if not the first, T&F book we got. I picked it out specifically because it was telling me to include ALL of Gregory’s limbs to discover textures. This wasn’t something I even registered until it was right in front of me. Books are always directed to be used in your hands, but this one you let your Little take off their socks and let their toes dance. The leaves are crunchy, the grass is stringy, the towel is like a towel… Gregory enjoyed this book to the point of destruction. The bind has been lost for months and the pages fell apart shortly after we moved to Vancouver. A RAD book, for sure.
On the Farm
This book is bright, has animals and information that your Little can pick up on. Page 2/3 features a sheep with some wool available to touch. The text tells you that the mommy is called an ewe, daddy is a ram, and a bit more info. It’s not very much, each page is a new animal, texture and text. I love it because Gregory and I would feel the texture, talk about the sound the animal made, what colour it was, and we learned what they were properly called. An Ewe, a duckling, a piglet… etc. A great read that we still enjoy today!
Apparently Gruffalo is a popular childrens book character I had never heard of until we got this touch and feel book. I LOVE IT! sorry for yelling.. Gruffalo is a silly/scary monster looking beast. Yeah, I’m not sure what he is, but this touch and feel book goes over the basics of his appearance with you. So, if you want to introduce Gruffalo to your Little, check this book out. Grufflo has Terrible Tusks, knobbly knees, purple pickles down his back.. it’s actually quite interesting to see how he is put together. I look forward to discovering the world Gruffalo lives in and going on adventures with him and my Bean.
Similar to On the Farm, this Touch and Feel Book features animals. I like to pet the lions mane, have Gregory put on his lion costume and practice roaring with him while crawling on all fours. Sometimes we touch the sticky pads on the tree frog and ribbit like a frog while hopping. A completely different variety of animals to discover and mimic all while be able to feel what their bodies texture is like.
These are my 4 favourite Touch and Feel books that have come through our RAD house. Have you owned or borrowed any of these from the library? How did you like them? Which Touch and feel books are your favourite? Sharing is caring, and we’re still in T&F book phase. Plus, any future mini-rads would benefit from your recommendations. Don’t forget to check out your library for a bunch of free activities for you and your Little to participate in. And grab the free newspaper on your way out for this fun activity.
Here is an exerpt from the website I found Dr. Maria Montessori’s Quote from. I wanted to include this text provided with the quote for you to read. If you’d like to read more quotes, check out the original source HERE. It’s a wonderful site. Thanks New Zealand!
“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world…” Montessori, M. (1988). The Absorbent Mind. Oxford: Clio Press. p. 167
Dr Maria Montessori’s insight into recognising and responding to the education of the young child’s senses is a remarkable aspect of her method, which continues to inspire me as a practitioner. Montessori identified a period during which the young child is acutely sensitive to the impressions received through their senses. The stimuli received through the experience of taste, touch, sight, smell and sound constructs and guides the child’s understanding of the physical, social, material and natural worlds. In Montessori classrooms throughout the world the sensorial materials will be presented to the child in the manner prescribed by Maria Montessori. The sensorial materials isolate qualities of the stimuli and provide a sensory impression. After the initial presentation, the connections children make as they explore the material and develop their own understanding is unique and special. As an example, I observed a young boy, not yet three years old, feeling the rough and smooth board some days after I had presented it to him. As he ran his fingertips across the surface he said, ‘Me smooth, Campbell smooth, Mummy smooth, Daddy rough.’ He was expressing his understanding of the connection between the stimuli from the touch board to the sensation of the skin texture of his family. In this instance the stimuli of touch offered the opportunity to refine the child’s understanding of physical attributes and the further possibility of exploring the child’s sense of place within the family. Opportunities and possibilities based upon the education of the senses open the way to infinite wisdom.
Janet Du Fall, Hi Jinks Montessori Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand.
Images Courtesy Of
Little Feet Like – – http://www.amazon.com/Little-Feet-Like-Giggle-Grow/dp/1581176929
The Gruffalo – – http://www.rabbitrabbitgifts.co.uk/the-gruffalo-touch-and-feel-book/
Touch and Feel Wild Animals – – http://www.dk.com/uk/9781409373704-touch-and-feel-wild-animals/