Sensory Play: Touch
Sensory play is any activity that stimulates children’s senses: touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing. This hands-on active play is truly how children learn about the world around them. By exploring and invesigating the way things feel, smell, look, taste and sound, children naturally engage with their creativity and their own scientific processes.
Over a few blog posts, I will offer activity suggestions focusing on one sense at a time, with the understanding that our senses do of course work in collaboration. Today we will focus on TOUCH, and more specifically, the creation of simple sensory bins!
Sensory bins are a fantastic way to invite your children to explore different textures. Sensory bins, at their most basic, are a container filled with a type of filler with the purpose of exploration.
To start, identify your bin. It can be as big as an under-the-bed plastic storage bin, or as small as a just a large kitchen bowl. Getting the right size is a bit of an art - you want it big enough to hold the filler and allow for play and exploration, but not so big that it’s overwhelming or cumbersome. I personally use an extra IKEA TROFAST bin, because it’s all I have and is serving the purpose for my one 2 year old just fine!
Next, choose your filler. When I first started doing these bins with Rahm, I liked to imagine that whatever I put in the bin WILL somehow end up on the floor so I started small, was very attentive and active with him, and hoped for the best. As he’s grown and learned how to explore a bit more calmly, I add more and can even let him play alone with the bins for a bit. Still, when I’m really thinking ahead, I do lay out a towel or an extra shower curtain under the bin to attempt to contain the messy bits.
Some of my favorite fillers often things we already have around the house like dried rice, dried beans, corn meal, oats, clean dirt, plain water, soapy water. Other ideas can be things like colored Pom Pom balls, cooked spaghetti, water beads, and various homemade doughs.
Finally, choose tools! Often, just their hands are tools enough! However, adding scoopers, measuring cups, tongs, funnels, wooden spoons, and other various jars and containers can add to the exploration and discovery.