Babies and toddlers already have a fairly good sense of touch when they are born, but as with all the other senses, it's important to encourage them to explore different types of textures. A baby's skin is super-sensitive (and irresistibly touchable), so now is a great time to get them learning all about the sense of touch.
A baby's skin is super-sensitive
To enjoy the journey of exploration with baby, gather items with a variety of interesting textures like:
- cotton balls
Try a bit of "blanket time". This allows baby free movement on the floor to reach out and feel the different textures. You can also gently brush the different objects across their tender tummies, legs, or cheeks. It is also excellent for you to talk to Baby and explain the different textures -"Isn't this soft?" "Doesn't this tickle?"... You'll probably be able to tell which items are favourites by an excited kick or a few coos.
Tickle Time is good for:
- body awareness
- social development
- tactile stimulation
- allowing us to respond to baby's cues and body language.
For older babies, let them explore with plastic, wood or rubber.
It’s also a great time to introduce foods like potatoes, oranges, apples, and other hard fruits and vegetables. You will be surprised at how long they will play with a potato!
Crawl & Cruise
We love the idea of creating a textured garden for your Bumbles Baby! Create a textured floor for baby to crawl around on, and if they are cruising, take off their shoes as the whole purpose is to feel the different textures under their feet and hands. Make sure you keep an eye on their reaction towards the different surfaces and explain the textures by giving a running commentary with lot of facial expressions!
- plastic bubble wrap (these are great fun!)
- astro turf
This is such a special time and now you can make it even more fun by exploring the different textures in the bath. It is such fun watching them laugh from the pit of their tummy as they watch the slippery soap jump out of your hands or the bubbles that pop when you touch them. Even the sponge as you clean or the soft toothbrush bristles against their little gums.
If you are already a BLW mom, your baby will already be super experienced here, but for those moms who are MLW, it's time to get messy! Bring back some of the foods that they are used to eating, like pasta, rice, carrots, or banana and during the meal times encourage them to touch and feel again. They may just want to squash it all up in their fingers, but you may even find they will pop it into their mouths.
Having explored their sense of touch, continue the adventure and engage this sense when interacting with food. Provide them with lots of opportunities to feel the textured skin of a range of fruits and vegetables, then slice them open to allow little fingers to touch the insides and see if they feel different.
Let them lick their fingers to taste!
Squeeze fruits to show the juice oozing out. The fruits don’t have to be eaten unless they want to! It’s more about getting them familiar with the different textures before they are offered them at mealtimes.
When using finger-foods, encourage communication. Ask if the food is hard or soft, bumpy, or just yummy in your tummy?
We know from experience that "touch sensitive" babies, toddler, or children more often than not have some kind of eating problem. This can vary from gagging, chewing, and then spitting out, or just not eating at all. It is so important to allow your little one touch and feel their food - it doesn't matter about the mess - that you can clean up. What is important is that your little one is confident, and the only they way they can learn, is if you allow them to explore and have fun at the same time!
To celebrate Spring we have created printable activity sheets to help explore your little one's senses in the big outdoors. Activities like these will help your baby or toddler become accustomed to, and accept new materials and objects that change their senses.
The practice of discovery will help them when they are faced with new and exciting foods.
Click here to download the Little Sense of Touch printable.