Tot School: Touchy-Feely Fun!

Twins-Actual Age: 17 months; Corrected Age: 15 months                                                                                                                                           Tex- 17 months

Theme: Sense of Touch

Last week was one of the messiest Little Minds sessions yet!  For the third installment in our five senses series, we had a fun-filled morning jam-packed with activities geared toward the sense of touch.  I have to admit, pulling this week together was a little tricky due to our crazy Texas weather.  I had originally planned outdoor activities for this session, but had to rethink those activities when the weather turned rainy.  So without further adieu, here is a rundown of our improvised indoor session celebrating the sense of touch.

Tex and his mama joined us at our house this week for school.  As usual, we began our session with our welcome song, weather check, and reading time.  Instead of choosing just one book of the  week, I pulled out several “touchy feely” books from our personal library and let the little ones choose which books they wanted to read.  Luckily, MiMi was staying with us last week so we had an extra set of hands to help.  At one point there were three different books being read aloud in the same room all at once!

When the babies were done reading, we sang  “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and then dove into our activities for the day.

Activity #1: Texture Squares

To introduce our theme and some touchy-feely vocabulary, I pulled out a set of texture squares from Educational Insights that I had stashed away in my therapy closet.  They were one of my favorite therapy tools because they provide lots of opportunities for language stimulation.  Another great thing about them is that there are two of each type of square so they can be used for texture-matching activities.  Since our pupils are a bit young for that, I simply stuffed a few empty wipes containers with the squares and set them out for the babies to explore.

The little ones spent quite awhile pulling out the squares, exploring their various textures, and then pushing them back into the containers.

Sydney particularly enjoyed a shiny “mirrored” square.  A diva in the making 😉

She also thought it was funny to “smell” every square and most of the other materials we put out during the session.  She would smash each item to her nose and produce a very exaggerated sniff.  Where do they come up with this stuff?

Activity #2: Ned’s Head

This is one of my other favorite therapy games…What’s In Ned’s Head?  The game is simple- there is a large set of crazy objects that reside inside Ned’s Head, along with a set of picture cards.  Older children can play the game by choosing a card and attempting to find its corresponding object without peeking by sticking their hands into Ned’s ears or mouth.  Our little ones are not quite there yet, but they still had great fun pulling out the objects, inspecting them, and putting them all back in.  I added a few objects to give more opportunities to talk about textures such as a soft feather boa and a rough sea shell.  The babies also enjoyed rubbing Ned’s soft hair and “honking” his squishy nose.

Activity #3: Sticky Wall

For our next activity I simply took a large sheet of clear Contact Paper, turned it adhesive side out, and taped it to the wall.  I had seen this idea on several preschool activity blogs and just had to give it a try.  Along with the sticky wall, I filled a tray with scraps of different textured materials that I had in my craft closet…feathers, sand paper, Easter grass, etc.  The little ones had fun sticking the different materials to the wall and then pulling them all off again.  I left the sticky wall up in our playroom all weekend, and we discovered that Contact paper is deceptively strong- you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that will stick on there!

I love this idea, and can see so many more great uses for this paper! I’m glad I have a still have whole roll!

Activity #4: “Under the Sea” Squish Bag

Holy Moly. You know when you have a great idea that you think will turn out just perfectly, only to have it go a little off the rails?  That’s what happened with this one 😉  I was excited to do this with the little ones because it was something that I did every year at least once with my speech kiddos when I worked in the schools.  It’s pretty simple…take a gallon-sized plastic bag, fill it with blue hair gel, add some sea creatures, tape the top shut, and you’ve got an aquarium squish bag!  With my school kids I often got a little more elaborate by adding sand or aquarium rocks to the bottom of the bag before the hair gel, but I wanted to keep it simple with this group.

I already had the sea creatures and the plastic bag, and found two very large tubs of styling gel at Walmart for a few dollars.  My original plan was to fill the bags with the gel myself and let the babies choose their own sea creatures to add. However, at the last minute I had the genius idea to let the little ones practice their “spooning” skills by filling the bags with the gel themselves (assisted by us) using large kitchen spoons.  What I didn’t know was that the hair gel I bought was watermelon scented, which paired with the fact that they were using kitchen spoons, made the babies come to the conclusion that they were supposed to eat it.  As a result, we spent the entire time wrestling with the babies to keep them from poisoning themselves with cheap hair products.  By the time the bags were filled, we were all covered with gel from head to toe, and I did not get any pictures of this activity because I didn’t have a hand to spare.  I think we’ll wait a little while before we try this again. Live and learn!

Activity #5: JUMBO Colorful Spaghetti Squish Bag

This activity was actually a combination of two of the original outdoor activities I had planned for the day.  I had intended on creating one of the giant water bags originally seen at Play at Home Mom that have been popping up all over the blogosphere lately. I had also wanted to create a colorful spaghetti sensory tub like one I pinned from One Perfect Day.  However, neither of these activities were ones I felt brave enough to try in our house, so I improvised. I decided to cut a smaller piece of the plastic sheeting I had bought for the water bag, fill it with the dyed spaghetti, tape it shut, and let the babies explore the spaghetti without spreading food coloring all over my home.

Let’s just say it went over a lot better than the last activity 😉

At one point all three babies were on the bag at the same time.  Notice that Will is down to his skivvies after the hair gel fiasco.

This was one of Tex’s favorite parts of the morning.  He kept laying down face first with his entire body on the bag, occasionally trying to “chew” on the pasta inside through the plastic.  I have about fifteen pictures of him just like the one below. What a goofball!

What??  It’s a free country!

Activity #6: Cooked Spaghetti Tub

Although I was hesitant about allowing colored spaghetti to be strewn around my house, I felt a little better about the plain version.   Plus, it felt so good to me when I was mixing it with the food coloring, I just had to let them get their hands in it!

Tex is a pasta fanatic, so he enjoyed tasting the noodles even more than playing with them.

We got a little wild and crazy with the pasta, but that was just fine with me!

And that’s all for last week’s session! I hope you enjoyed our crazy, messy play day!

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Comments

  1. wow – great job – love it all !

  2. Wow, what a fun day! I LOVE how you adapted the coloured spagetti sensory tub to be suitable for indoor play. Looks like the kids had a blast. I love the senosry squares too. Oh and how adorable when Toots was smelling everything? Too funny!

    • Thanks, Ness! Of course, she smelled everything that day but refused to smell anything at all on “taste and smell” day this week. Toddlers are so unpredictable!