Touch & texture helps to expose children to the world around them. It enables them to experience & gain an understanding of what objects are & what they feel like by exploring various shapes & textures.
Through texture play, children get to know what feels sticky, prickly, silky & fluffy & experience how this feels against their skin. Well before they’re able to verbally communicate it children learn about & develop preferences around different textures & tactile sensations.
🗣️ Communication & Language Acquisition
Babies can’t speak & toddlers may only know how to say a few words, yet they are surrounded by a multitude of different objects, materials & surfaces. Texture offers a pathway for parents to provide unique linguistic input. “Feel this soft jumper on your skin” or “that ball is spiky!”
🏃 Development of motor skills
Texture helps to strengthen motor skills. Gripping, squeezing, stacking, poking, pouring or scooping items of various textures helps children to use and strengthen different muscles. It also helps them to gain better fine motor control as different amounts of pressure & dexterity is required for different textures (e.g. slippery or hard).
👀 Observation & Cognitive Skills
When a child focuses on one particular object, material or surface it can cue mindfulness & be calming for young children. Children are highly sensitive to tactile sensory input given so much of their world relies on their physical experience of it (rather than the more cognitively demanding experience of adults).
🍝 Reduce Picky Eating
Research shows that regular sensory play increases children’s willingness to try new food. Sensory/texture play with food can help by creating an opportunity to explore a food without the pressure of having to eat it. As the child develops trust & understanding of this texture it helps build positive pathways in the brain to say it is safe to engage with this food.
What are some ways that you incorporate texture play each day?