Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

This activity is designed to develop baby’s sense of touch. A baby learns a great deal about the world around them through touching and being touched, as well as learning where their bodies end and the rest of the world begins! We help babies discover different textures through the sense of touch

Equipment required

  • 4 ‘fab’ bags containing 4 to 8 different textured items
  • 4 blankets
  • A suitable CD from your own collection to use as beautiful background music (preferably instrumental, without words to distract. Something from Enya or some massage music would be ideal)

Training Videos

Sensory Feely Bags-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Duration

Two to three weeks

How it works

Each week new textured items are brought in and passed around the group. The children feel, touch and explore the texture with the help of the adult. Ralph circulates to assist and encourage. This could be their first experience in contact with some of the textures brought for the babies to explore. Encourage them to make discovers about the material – scrunch up some foil, feel the softness of silk, and the cool hard metal of a spoon. Let babies touch and explore, rub them against cheeks, then pass along to get a different textured piece. Also use a variety of props to stroke baby with – feathers, ribbons, etc

What to do in the class

This works best if you divide your class into 4 groups. Children sit (or lie if babies) in their groups with their parents/carers around a blanket. Place on each blanket a ‘fab’ bag containing 4 different objects. The children take out the items and share them around (this is a great activity for learning to share). Even the bag can be an object to explore.

To work successfully amongst a group of babies of differing developmental ability, suggest different activities for each mum to work on:

Youngest babies (non-sitting)

  • touching and feeling on different parts of their body
  • peek-a-boo

Sitters

  • touching and feeling on different parts of their body
  • peek-a-boo
  • raise over-head and to the side to encourage movement and co-ordination
  • hide in your hand and get them to find it
  • making a noise with the items

Crawlers

  • touching and feeling on different parts of their body
  • peek-a-boo
  • raise over-head and to the side to encourage movement and co-ordination
  • hide in your hand and get them to find it
  • hide elsewhere, e.g. behind back
  • point to items and encourage baby to give to you
  • interact with Ralph if he comes by

Encourage the adults to do whatever comes naturally, follow the lead of the baby and talk about what the baby is doing and looking at using simple language.

What to do in a nursery setting

Encourage the staff to work with each baby on a one to one basis.

Tips

  • Try and select quite different items each week so there is a clear and evident distinction between them.
  • Have lovely interesting bags to put the textures in and some nice rugs to sit on.
  • Some people put same set of textures in each bag, others have a whole variety in all the bags.

Discourage babies from putting objects in their mouth (which they want to do as the nerve endings are very sensitive at this stage and its how they explore objects) by asking parents to help the baby develop their less sensitive nerves by rubbing the objects on other body parts (hand, feet backs etc). You could bring along lots of metal teaspoons and give theses to the parents along with the feely bags. The babies can then satisfy their need to mouth on the spoon while mum helps the baby explore the objects with other parts of their bodies. The teaspoons can easily go into the dishwasher at the end of the class.

Or some franchisees have a ‘cleaning box’ on the side in their baby classes, and parents can put any objects that children have chewed in at the end of the sessions, so you know what needs to be cleaned before next week. New mums find this very reassuring!

Suggested ideas for texture items (add your own!)

  • Tub of pasta shapes
  • Rope (skipping rope)
  • Pine cones
  • Small pillows/bean bags
  • Scourer + sponge CD (eg blank one or freebie! AOL)
  • Lego bricks
  • Shells Balloons
  • Material squares
  • Sensory balls
  • Silver balls – stress release
  • Cotton wool
  • Paper napkins
  • Metal spoon
  • Water in a balloon (take a towel)
  • Alphabet cubes
  • Roll of sticky tape
  • Crunchy/crackly paper
  • Pebbles small and flat (large enough so can’t put in mouth)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Silk
  • Fur (fake)
  • Brush bristles
  • Newspaper
  • Bubbles
  • Woodblock
  • Silver foil
  • Natural wood
  • Play dough
  • Piece of plastic (not a bag)
  • Polystyrene
  • Bell (not too small)
  • Crepe paper
  • Heavy cotton
  • Plastic spoons
  • Hair on doll
  • String
  • Wrapping paper
  • Straw
  • Leaf
  • Corrugated card
  • Shower scrunchie
  • Metal
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Egg box
  • Rubber chicken
  • Pieces of duplo brick
  • Clear bag of jelly cubes
  • Netting
  • Old CD
  • Bean bag
  • Large feather
  • Ball pit ball covered with sticky tape
  • Sticky side up in places
  • Stretchy figures (bendy men)
  • Stress balls
  • Polystyrene packaging pieces
  • Water feely bags*
  • Water
  • Jelly
  • Sand
  • Shaving foam

*Water feely bags – these are great, tactile props you can make at home. Get a ziplock bag and put interesting small items in, e.g. sequins, glitter, flat toys like small toy fish, letters, shells, buttons or beads etc. Now put in some water, and possibly add some food colouring or some coloured shower gel. Zip up the bag and reinforce by sticking all the edges with wide packaging tap. Give to the children to handle and explore. The shower gel ones will bubble as they are handled and make it more challenging for the babies to see the items in there, but then they have to try harder to move and manipulate the objects to make them surface.