I remember peeling a bowl of grapes, putting them in a covered box with a side hole in it and calling the grapes eyeballs for one of my boy’s school Halloween parties. I had fun watching the kids squirm as they put a hand in the grapes. This is definitely a sensory activity!
It’s a different kind of squirm for kids that are still challenged with being defensive to tactile input. Those children get nervous and hesitant when they’re touching new textures. For less severe situations, you can assist children with their tactile sensory development.
However, if your child or student has strong tactile defensiveness or resistance, aversions or avoidance to certain textures, you may want to contact your local Occupational Therapist to assist your child in lessening their resistance to new texture experiences.
What to Put in a Sensory Bag
It is helpful for typical developing children or children that may not be drawn to touch to have a variety of textures available in a classroom to develop their tactile skills. It’s also helpful to have a variety of textures available for children that are sensory seekers and are drawn to touch everything.
I see many sensory tables in classrooms, which is a positive choice on the teacher’s part, as providing more sensory input to a child in a classroom will enable their sensory systems to develop more efficiently. You can also have a sensory box or bag for children to explore textures.
For a dry (not paints and puddings etc.) sensory experience, I place a variety of textures in the container or sensory bag. Remember to add textures that you might not naturally be drawn to. I cut up a plastic doormat that is on the prickly side. You can add various fabrics, squishy toys, and brushes. Use your imagination and have fun.
Ways to Wake Up the Tactile System
Also, as I demonstrate in the video below, you can do a prep brush activity before a child uses their tactile system through touch. Try using a brush on their palms to alert or wake up the tactile system before you have them participate in tactile activities.
Questions About Sensory Bags?
If you have a question about tactile defensiveness or want to run your sensory bag ideas by me, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with kids.