Did you know that a child’s touch is the first sense to develop in the womb? The act of touching stimulates sensors within muscles and joints, sending messages back and forth from the skin to the brain. Tactile learning is learning through touching or feeling. It is very similar to the ideas from Montessori education, where tactile learning uses immersive hands-on activities to teach. It can help keep students engaged and help them focus on the present subject. Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development. The key for teaching a tactile learner is to add some type of hands-on activity to each lesson you teach. Touch is not only crucial for short-term development with infancy but also for long-term development within the child.
Here are some of our favorite tactile objects or materials that are helpful in learning.
Besides hours of countless fun, there are numerous benefits in playing with play dough. It helps develop fine motor skills as well as bilateral coordination skills as they use their hands to mold and manipulate. Playing with play dough also helps children explore mathematical concepts, measure, and count.
Magna-tiles provide children with different types of learning from critical thinking and problem solving to improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. They are very colorful and come in different shapes and sizes which gives children the opportunity to learn their colors and sort by shapes and sizes. Being able to touch and manipulate magna-tiles will help in attention and focus and spatial awareness.
Finger painting is a great activity for a young child’s development. Giving children opportunities to paint with their fingers helps them learn fine motor skills and muscles in their fingers while allowing them creative freedom. You can even ask your child to draw numbers, letters, and shapes to help them better understand and cement what they are learning in the classroom.
A lap book is made by using file folders to store creative summaries of student work. They are more than just regular notebooks with collections of worksheets, they are diagrams, drawings, and other paper manipulatives that emphasize the chosen subject of the book. They give children not only the opportunity to create and cut with their fingers, but also to review their subject in a tactile way.
Some students do best when they physically feel and manipulate objects in a learning environment. Using an abacus for math calculations can be an incredibly simple tool to develop your child’s skills. The abacus helps your children develop speed and accuracy in solving math problems while still using a simple method. When kids are able to see and feel numbers rather than just be spoken to, it can be helpful!
Tangrams are puzzle sets consisting of seven flat polygons, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. Like building blocks, tangrams can teach kids about spatial relationships. They help kids develop stronger problem solving abilities, and can even help them learn to do math in a tactile way.
Teaching using tactile learning activities may be all you need to get your little learner learning! Touch is not only imperative for short-term advancement with infancy and early childhood sensory experiences, but for long-term development within the child. Using hands-on, tactile learning activities helps your child learn every subject better. Teaching is often just talking or reading, especially for some subjects. When there is no tactile learning activity, your tactile learner won’t have a chance to experience the lesson. Help them learn more easily by trying some of the above activities!