Our recent post about the Tactile System described how we use touch to receive and interpret information from our environment. This sensory system allows us to feel and differentiate pressure, texture, temperature, and even pain. A functioning tactile system is essential for healthy child development because it allows children to feel secure and organized enough in their bodies to attend and respond to all of the other sensory information they encounter each day. A well-developed tactile system allows children to explore and navigate their world safely and confidently. Here is a list of 10 best tactile toys, they are some of our favorite toys that we use regularly in our pediatric therapy practice and with our little ones at home to provide fun, playful exposure to tactile experiences.
1- Body Sox A favorite of our pediatric occupational therapists, Body Sox are made out of stretchy spandex material and provide firm tactile input all over the body. Great for coordination and body awareness.
2 – Model Magic Good old fashioned modeling clay…except it’s super soft and easy to mold. The best part? Once all that great tactile play is finished, kids can preserve their clay masterpieces by letting them air dry!
3 – Sensory Stepping Stones Don’t forget to let the feet in on the action too! These colorful patches can be set up however you want – in a line, in a circle, over and around obstacles – get creative! Each stepping stone has a different texture – perfect for barefoot play!
4 – Water Wigglies This is another tactile toy that kids won’t be able to get enough of. Water Wigglies are soft and squeezable, sliding right through your little one’s hands. Perfect for keeping little hands busy in the car or at a restaurant!
5 – Finger Paint Everyone’s tried fingerpainting with their little ones, but this paint from Crayola is the best. It’s smooth and easy to work with, washes off hands and tables easily, and it even smells good!
6 – PlayFoam This fun squishy foam lets kids shape and create to their heart’s content! It never dries out and is perfect for tactile play on the go because it’s non-stick.
7 – Feel and Find Game In this fun tactile game, kids have to reach into the cloth bag to find the wooden shape that corresponds with their tile. Great for tactile and visual processing!
8 – SloMo Ball This ball is another great way to provide all-over tactile input for kids. It’s lightweight and has a moveable tactile surface, making it great for grasping. You can inflate it more or less to control bounce and softness.
9 – Squiggle Wiggle Writer This heavy duty vibrating pen can inspire even the most reluctant writer or artist! It comes with 5 ink cartridges in different colors and provides great tactile feedback as kids draw and write.
10 – Kinetic sand This awesome stuff lets you bring the beach indoors! The sand is easy to shape and mold, sticking to itself so that it doesn’t spread all over. Kids will be mesmerized, making all kinds of creative shapes and figures, or just playing and letting it run through their hands!