A family joke is that babies are little sharks. They explore everything with their mouth, whatever will fit goes straight into the mouth. While this is well known that babies and toddlers learn and explore their world thru touch, many parents don’t realize how important and helpful it is to use tactile sensory (touch) to teach school-age children as well.
I am sure you have heard how some children are a visual learner or learn thru hearing; however, many children are tactile learners. These children to learn best hands on method; instead of reading how to make cookies or watching, they learn better by making cookies.
It had been proven that future academic success directly correlates with children who have more tactile learning, tummy time as babies and develop motor skills at a younger age. The more tactile feedback and tactile development they have the better they learn. This very well may be why music is directly related to a child’s math ability. The act of a child using his or her hands to play an instrument like a piano for example; builds connections in the brain that increase mathematics reasoning.
I have personal experience in this; my son was an average math student in elementary but in the 7th grade I got him to start playing the piano with me in our home and then in 8th grade, he started playing the baritone in a band. Now he is in high school and takes honor math subjects and always carries an A in them.
Look for clues that your child may benefit from sensory learning or even be a tactile learner
• Often taps their pencil, moves their feet, holds an object while studying
• Trace letters, numbers, and shapes for spelling and reading using finger
• Needs frequent breaks from their desk or studying
• Tends to doodle with pen or finger when thinking
• Fidgety in the classroom or during homework
• Touches everything around them
• learns or remembers better by writing things down several times
• They enjoy and often are good at solving mazes and jigsaw puzzles
• Thinks better when given the freedom to move around
• Has trouble giving verbal explanations or directions
• Learns better when shown how to do something and then given the opportunity to do it.
Once you have decided tactile learning and feedback can benefit your child now how do you implement tactile learning in each stage of your child’s life? It is very easy you only need a little creative thinking.
Infancy is easy enough to think of ways how to encourage you child’s tactile development. A baby learns about their world through touch; is this object hard or soft, rough or smooth, a liquid or a solid. Simply giving toys with different textures or simply letting them play with their food will delight your baby and get those neurons firing. Sensory toys for this age are endless at any store. Very popular items are play mats where baby can explore different textures during tummy time while developing motor skills.
Infants toddlers love to explore their world through touch.
You can provide encouragement by building blocks in a tower and letting them knock it down, Sensory tables are endless fun. Different sensory items can be substituted for a new learning experience and keep boredom at bay. On week have hard dry corn kernels than the following week wheat berries, dried beans, sand or even water but always under the supervision of an adult. Finger painting is always a fun packed learning experience for toddlers. Sensory toys are the new hot items in many toy stores for children.
Continuation of sensory education
When your child is old enough and has started school don’t throw tactile learning to the side; it is as important to your child’s education and in learning as the ability to read and can be implemented in everyday life. If your child hates to study those spelling words make it fun.
My daughter will write her spelling word in a pile of flour I let her play in while I bake and my 3-year-old love to get a hand full clap her hands and what the puff of cloud come from her hands and wiggle her toes in it. Yep, I just snuck in some learning on both of them.
Your kindergartener learning about colors get out some color paddles. Color paddles are at many stores. Have you child put a blue paddle on a yellow and it turns green?
How about that 4th grader learning about those plant and animal cells.
If your child is having trouble learning by just looking at some pictures; a great and fun way to learn about cells is to buy educational play foam. It is perfect to modeling a cell and with the different colors the separate parts of the cell will be easy to see.