Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you’ve all survived the winter holidays surrounded by snow!
Watching your children playing in the snow you realize how important it is for them to explore their world through touch. They are so interested in handling the snow, feeling it, pressing it into snowballs, letting it melt and drip.
Experiencing different textures in tactile play is an important and fun activity for young children. You can continue this exploration in your home using household items. By preparing the environment where your child is working you can make sure that the messy play is contained, and an enjoyable time for both of you. Choose one of the ideas from the following list, get the clean up cloths ready, cover surfaces, be prepared for spills, take a deep breath and relax.
Here are a few ideas of some different textures they can explore, but feel free to come up with your own ideas.
Finger painting on the table surface with pudding
Dry breakfast cereal in a large bowl or tray
Jello, set in a bowl and then turned out on a table surface
Cold cooked spaghetti on a plate or tray
Cornstarch mixed with water to make a thick goopy paste on a plate or tray
Try not to have any ideas of how you want them to play, allow them to explore. Some children are immediately comfortable with feeling the textures squeeze through their fingers, other children take their time. Both approaches are absolutely fine.
You can also make some play dough for your child to roll out with a rolling pin, cut out with cookie cutters, model into shapes, squeeze in their hands, bash with a toy mallet, the ideas are endless. Again let your child decide how they want to explore the textures.
Here are two recipes for play dough. One is a no-cook salt dough, and the other is a cooked dough.
Play dough Recipes
No-cook Salt dough
2 cups of flour
1 cup of table salt
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 cup of water with a few drops of food colouring added
Mix the flour, salt and oil in a large bowl. Gradually add the water, mixing to form a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes until blended and smooth. Store in a covered container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Play dough (cooked)
1 cup water with a few drops of food colouring added
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Combine all of the ingredients in a cooking pot. Put the cooking pot on the stove and constantly stir over a medium heat until smooth and most of the moisture is absorbed. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface to cool, and then knead until blended and smooth. This dough can be stored in a covered container or plastic bag; it does not need to be refrigerated.