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Tactile Play Ideas for Parents and Teachers

baby sits in a bath tub with bath toys

  • Water play is generally a good place to start. Add washcloths and sponges along with toys and items for pouring. Vary the temperature.
  • Use tools such as spoons, straws, and paint brushes to touch materials if your child does not want to touch with their hands.
  • Put sensory materials such as finger paint or foam into zip lock bags to squeeze, graduating to squirting some onto trays or bins.
  • Use dry materials such as oatmeal in bins and hide toys to find with a spoon. Drive cars through oatmeal or rice on trays. Start to draw letters or shapes in partially wet sand.
  • Use carpet squares to walk on in games. Wrap or roll up in different textured blankets.
  • Teach firm self-massage on arms or legs with body lotion or a warm wash cloth. Vary to rubbing with different materials while singing or talking about the parts of the arm or leg.
  • Put tape or stickers on yourself and have your child find them while providing hints — then encourage your child to put them on you. Start with your nose, kids love that!
Adapted from an article by Lisa Ricketts, OTR, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Colors and Emotions

a color wheel

Colors can also be used to describe or represent emotions. How would you match the colors below to the list of emotions and why? Remember, there is no right or wrong answer!

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Green
  • Happy
  • Silly
  • Gloomy
  • Excited
  • Calm
  • Sad
  • Angry

Touch, Smell, and Sound

Photo of Chris walking, with cane, through some complicated outdoor staircases in a plaza

Check out our Tips from a Blind Architect Great Expectations page to learn from Christopher Downey how texture, smell, and sound influence the way people feel and why he uses these in his designs.

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