February’s theme is Textures. Try these fun activities to explore new textures:
For your baby: Pick one or two concepts (perhaps soft/hard and bumpy/smooth) and use these words as your talk with your baby across the day. “What a soft blanket you have!” “That rattle feels bumpy, doesn’t it?” Follow your baby’s lead and let her linger over textures she seems to find interesting (“yes, your blanket has a smooth edge, and a soft middle”). There may also be textures she does not enjoy, and that’s okay, too. You can label her feelings (“I bet that oatmeal feels sticky on your hands”) and give her something else to touch.
For your toddler: Discover textures with your toddler and talk about how they feel (soft/hard, bumpy/smooth, silky/rubbery, etc.). Be creative about where you find textures: The leaves of a plant can feel “pointy” or the lint you clean from the dryer can feel “woolly.” As your toddler grows and develops more language, you can ask him “What does this feel like to you?”
Try reading some touch-and-feel books together. For babies, Animal Kisses by Barney Saltzburg is always a favorite, as is the classic Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. Older toddlers may also enjoy I Am Happy: A Touch and Feel Book of Feelings by Steve Light which links feelings and textures. The touch-and-feel books from the Spot series by Eric Hill are usually a big hit, too.
For your baby: Let your baby touch and play with a set of differently textured fabrics. Offer her silky scarves, textured lace pieces, a soft cotton handkerchief. Play peek-a-boo behind the different fabrics. See if she tries to pull the scarf off your head! Which textures does your baby seem to like best?
For your toddler: Make texture Valentines. Cut squares from different papers and materials—cloth, lace, ribbon, sandpaper, aluminum, foil, etc. Pour some glue (another texture to touch!) into a plastic bowl and let your child pick a square, dip it in the glue, and then glue it to a sturdy piece of paper you have cut into a heart shape. Follow your child’s lead; if she is done after gluing 2 squares or if she only wants to glue the foil on, that’s okay. When you’re done, hang her “masterpiece” at her eye-level so she can show everyone her work.
For babies and toddlers: Make a texture book for your child. In honor of Valentine’s Day, cut heart shapes from a variety of differently textured fabrics and papers—lace, satin, cotton, corduroy, sandpaper, corrugated cardboard, etc. You can glue these into a book and write the texture on each page (“silky,” “scratchy,” etc.)