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Tips to Strengthen a Child’s Sensory Tactile System

Our sensory tactile system is how we experience the world through touch and connects that information in our emotions. This is important especially in children so that they can discover the things they like and dislike.

Here are a few ideas that provide opportunities for kids to play and explore using their tactile sense.  These activities are meant only as fun ways to incorporate the tactile sense into every day play, not as treatment for children with sensory processing issues.

Create sensory bins!

Fill up a large plastic container with kinetic or regular sand, uncooked peas/rice/pasta, water beads etc. Once the child has explored a little, try hiding objects inside the bin and see how many the child can find.  Add a cup to practice scooping, dumping, pouring, and shaking. Have kids use their words to describe how the texture feels to them. Soft, bumpy, rough, yucky, fun, etc.

Play with sensory rich toys!

such as play dough, clay, and finger paint. Remember, you can play with more than just your hands! Get the feet in on the action too or let kids paint their whole bodies before bath time.  

Put on a fashion show!

Let kids have a fashion show using clothing with varying textures  (e.g. hat, shirt, pants, gloves, flip flops, boots, tights, etc.) Try making it into a game or a race!

Go swimming!

While its warm out, go swimming! It’s the perfect activity for whole body tactile input!  Any kind of water play makes for a great tactile experience: in the bath, in the sink, or just a big bowl of water on the ground!  Add sponges, cups, a watering can, and toys for more fun and exploration!

Make a touch and feel book!

Make a touch and feel book with a different page for each texture.  See if you can find something around the house or outside (swatch of scrap fabric, craft paper, sticks, leaves) to glue onto the pages of your book as examples of smooth, rough, soft, hard, bumpy, etc. Have kids get involved and help make the book for even more tactile input as they glue items onto the pages! 

Play in the mud!

Last but not least, let kids get dirty! Doing this can be difficult when you’re focused on the clean up afterward, but  remember that allowing children to explore and get dirty, whether with an indoor painting or cooking activity or playing outside in the mud or sandbox helps develop a strong and healthy tactile system! 

If you have a child that is over or under-reactive to touch, please be sure to contact your physician or an occupational therapist that can offer support for your child’s individual needs.Call our office today at 586-323-2957 to schedule your FREE 30 minute screening.

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