Tactile activities stimulate the senses of the participants, particularly the sense of touch. The activities work well for children, especially kids with tactile defensiveness. The condition causes a strong negative reaction to touch stimulation, according to La Leche League. The child is able to explore various textures and tactile experiences on her own terms through the tactile activities.
A sensory table is a common center in preschool classrooms, but it also works well at home or with older kids. The child-sized table features a shallow tub as the top. The sensory table is often filled with sand or water, with toys, scoops and other items for the kids to use. Other items also work well in the sensory table. Change the contents to the fit the them or to match your child's interests. Options include dirt, leaves, shredded paper, uncooked rice, uncooked pasta or shaving cream. The kids use their hands, as well as the sensory table tools, to manipulate the contents of the table.
This simple activity works well for all ages, from young toddlers to older children. Mix a batch of pudding. Choose the flavor based on the desired color, or make vanilla and use food coloring to make different colors of pudding paint. This makes the paint completely edible in case the child puts his fingers in his mouth during the activity. The kids use their fingers to dip into the pudding paint to paint a picture.
Working with clay or dough is a simple tactile activity that allows the child to use creativity. The clay itself has a smooth, distinct texture the kids can explore. Squeezing the clay gives the kids another activity. They also get the chance to mold the clay into items such as bowls or sculptures for an art aspect.
A texture collage uses scraps that have distinct textures. Examples include aluminum foil, carpet remnants, sandpaper and fabric. Small items such as beans, straw and rice also work well. The kids apply glue to a piece of poster board and press the textured scraps onto the glue. The kids touch the different parts of the collages to feel the different textures.
A similar option is to make a texture book. Designate each page as a different texture, such as smooth, rough or bumpy. The kids glue a scrap that matches the designated texture onto the page.
Walking on Surfaces
Walking on various surfaces provides a tactile experience for the feet. Remove shoes and socks before walking across a surface. Grass and sand are two ideal options for the activity. They won't hurt the feet of the participants, but they have a distinct feeling to them. Inspect the area carefully before the activity to look for sharp objects.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.