Sensory tactile boards provide a sensory experience for your child that may help to calm or soothe them when feeling anxious, or could arouse them when feeling sluggish through the sense of touch. This activity works because while the child is touching the texture, the tactile input elicits a body response such as calming or awakening.
Each sensory tactile board will look and feel different as they are supposed to be tailored to your child’s unique sensory needs and preferences. Generally, rougher textures like burlap, sandpaper, and velcro elicits more of an awakening or alerting response.
Softer textures like cotton, felt, yarn, and foam textures elicit a calming response. Try various textures out with your child to determine which ones he likes best. After the textures are selected, cut them out into various shapes and transform them into these sensory tactile board flowers.
This activity can be used in a wide variety of different ways with all sorts of children to address many different learning concepts. Here are some ideas…
1. Use with kids who are tactile defensive – These flowers are welcoming and non-threatening and can provide a safe experience for a child who struggles with touching new types of textures.
2.Use with kids who are learning about texture concepts- This project is a convenient way to have a wide variety of descriptive texture concepts such as rough, prickly, bumpy, or soft to help illustrate what those words mean.
3. Use with kids who need tactile mediums for calming strategies– Quite often, children use tactile mediums to help them cope with anxiety, stress, anger, or frustration. Sometimes, children use destructive tactile mediums such as picking at their skin, scabs, clothes, nails, hair, or ripping up papers to manage those anxious feelings. This project allows for kids to handle a tactile medium but in a healthier, more appropriate manner.
4. Tape this to your students’ desks- As mentioned above, many kids need a tactile medium to help them manage their stress and anxiety, and some will resort to using whatever is closest and most readily available (like picking at their skin, nails, clothes, hair, etc…). Tape this project to the student’s desk (you can even tape it underneath the desktop so its out of the way but still readily available) to give the student a chance to manage their stress and anxiety in a healthier manner.
5. Use this with kids who need to improve cutting skills or fine motor strength- Have the child cut out the various textures because it will require more fine motor strength than cutting out traditional paper. Also have the child squeeze a glue bottle to get the flowers to stick onto the page to develop fine motor strength.
Project Construction *You can use any types of mediums for the flowers. I used soft felt, rough burlap (from an old wall paper sample), yarn, fine sandpaper, crumpled up tissue paper, and spongy foam (for the bird). Some other ideas are cotton balls, feathers, bubble wrap, and aluminum foil.
What did you use in yours? Leave me a comment to let me know!