Based on the popular fairy tale- Goldilocks & the Three Bears, we love the use of antonyms such as “hard” & “Soft” that Goldilocks used to describe the polar opposites of the texture of the bears’ chairs and beds. To help my girl internalise the new adjectives, “hard” and “soft”, we came up with this favourite Montessori-inspired activity- The touch and texture game. This is suitable from curious toddlers 1 year old right up to 3 years old where they use their senses to learn about their environment and the objects around. This game specifically heightens their sense of touch as well as pick up new words in a sensorial manner.
It is so simple to set up! All you need are objects you can find around the house!
Materials you need:
1. A basket to put all the objects in
2. 2 containers such as disposable boxes.
3. Labels for “Hard” and ” soft”
4. Hard materials can include: pebble, stone, cup, spoon, small bowl, etc!
Soft materials can be cotton ball, socks, cloth, bean bag, sponge, paper etc!
Steps for the Touch and Texture Game
1. Sit with your child and take out one hard and one soft object from the basket.
2. Demonstrate by pressing your fingertips on the hard object and say “hard”, then place it in the container with the label “hard”. Repeat the same procedure for the soft object.
3. Invite your child to repeat the process and encourage your child to say out the adjective to describe the texture of the object. The opposites are placed there to help your child understand the concepts of opposites.
4. If your child merely just want to feel the objects, allow them to explore with freedom. Go through the objects of her interest and guide her by talking to her about the objects and how it feels to the touch.
5. Once your older child is able to sort the objects successfully, to reinforce, you can ask the child to point to you which object is soft or hard. He or she will be able to recall the sensorial experience she had a day or two before and is more confident in ascertaining the texture of the objects sometimes even without touching them.
Here my little girl is having so much fun feeling and sorting the objects according to their properties. She held each object in her palm and tried squeezing it, stroking it, pressing it to feel its texture. For some objects , it turned out to be a little deceptive as I could tell it was surprising to her that a sponge actually feels soft when she presses it. IT was a wonderful discovery process for her learning about the characteristics of the objects! And when we re-read Goldilocks story again, in the episode where she described the chairs and beds as soft and hard, she could list out the other objects from the activity that were hard or soft!
You can definitely use this method for teaching other opposites like hot, cold, rough, smooth.