FEELING WELL. Baby’s sense of touch and tactile development.




Toddler’s OMSDEP: Her sense of touch and tactile development intentions:


  • To have as many tactile (touch feeling) experiences as possible so she can use her sense of touch like a second sight. 



Frequent touching:


During this period toddler will continue to develop her ability to recognise objects by touching them. She is progressing towards being able to accurately identify complex objects that she cannot see, and the frequent use of her sense of touch will help her to develop that natural talent. She is developing her ability to create mental pictures of objects she cannot see by holding on to them and feeling the variations in their surface levels, depths, textures and temperatures. 


As a result of her development toddler is further increasing her future ability to use her hands effectively in sports and games where very slight changes in hand position or pressure can very significantly change results. For example, in golf it is the sense of touch that measures the strength of the grip and the position of the hands on the club. The sense of touch also measures and adjusts the angle of the club when it hits the ball. If the sense of touch does not measure grip strength, hand position or club angle correctly the ball may land in the rough or elsewhere rather than the hole. But, providing the eyes correctly sight and estimate the distance to the hole and the sense of touch and sight correctly estimate wind direction and speed, the golfer can hit a hole-in-one if the sense of touch in the hands functions excellently. Tennis, basketball, baseball, pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey, marbles, bowls, quoits, gymnastics and probably every other sport and game where the hands are used, cannot be played well if the sense of touch is poor. Conversely, if the sense of touch is excellent the player’s opportunity to play with excellence is greatly improved. 


During this period continue massaging toddler and encourage her to have many tactile experiences as described at earlier levels. Begin to play games where you place something into her hand and, without letting her see it, try to have her guess what it is.


‘What Is It?’


 ‘What Is It?’ is a game that helps toddler develop her ability to recognise objects she cannot see. 


Tell toddler you have a fun game to play and the game is called ‘What Is It?’

Each time you play select one of toddler’s favourite toys or other objects she particularly enjoys. The toy or object should be small enough for her to easily hold in one hand. It could, for example, be a small toy animal, teaspoon or pencil. This will be used to place into her hand(s). 


Ask her to close her eyes and hold out her hands, or to put them behind her back. 


Put the chosen object in her hand(s) without letting her see what it is. (As part of the game you might have to hold her hands for a moment so she doesn’t peek, or have her put her hands behind her back, or blindfold her). After a momentary pause tell toddler what the object is.  (Your pause gives toddler time to think for herself what the object is). Tell her joyfully how well she played the game.





The ‘Feely Bag’. 


The Feely Bag is another game that helps toddler develop her ability to recognise objects she cannot see. But, the Feely Bag is not used until nearly the end of this Level because toddler needs to first better develop her ability to recognise objects by touch. The Feely Bag is also used in the following Level 6.


Find a suitable bag to use as a Feely Bag and find four suitable objects to place in it.


The Feely Bag is usually a cloth bag (although an opaque paper or other bag will do) about 300 mm x 300 mm that contains objects such as a marble, cotton reel, pencil and pencil sharpener.


Show toddler each of the objects, name them, and let her feel them before they are placed in the bag. Ask her to put her hand into the bag and hold one of the objects. Ask her to say what object she is holding before she removes it from the bag. When she says what it is she then takes it out of the bag. Alternatively she is asked to retrieve one of the objects, the pencil sharpener for example. She then puts her hand in the bag and attempts to find the requested object without looking inside.


To help toddler succeed with the Feely Bag start with only one object in the bag and show her before you put it in the bag. Then proceed as described above and strongly congratulate her when she finds and identifies the object in the bag. In the next day or two add another object with a very different shape to the first to the bag. There are now two very different objects in the bag at the same time, for example, a pencil and a marble. Again congratulate her for finding an object in the bag, when she does, and especially congratulate her if she correctly identifies the object. Put the third object into the bag on the day after toddler successfully identifies the first two objects in the bag and then put the fourth object into the bag on the day after toddler successfully identifies the first three objects in the bag.


When she can correctly identify four objects in the Feely Bag she moves on to development Level 6 and the number of objects in the bag is increased to seven.



Activities for parents and toddlers:


  1. ‘What Is It?’


Using some of toddler’s favourite but small objects play ‘What Is It?’ ten times each day.


  1. Touch fun: Different pressure, texture, temperature and moisture.


Ensure toddler has many items to play with that will give her the opportunity to feel different pressures (such as holding something tightly and then loosely, for example pulling a rope or toy), different textures, different temperatures and different amounts of moisture. Set up a wet environment for her such as a running hose and toys and clothes to wet. Give her some soap to play with. Give her pieces of timber, plants or flowers to dissect and squash between her fingers. Give her play dough and moist clay to squeeze and shape. Play in the snow. Melt ice cubes. Fly kites. Give her toys to pull by string (pulling string is a touch sensation) and go for long walks. On those long walks examine gardens, road surfaces, rocks, fences, building surfaces and playgrounds; and feel them all and talk about them. There are many hundreds of touch sensations to discover with toddler.



  1. Fascinated and accurate.


Be fascinated about new textures. Your fascination will enhance toddler’s fascination. Children love to discover new things and they particularly love it when they can share the joy of discovery with another person who cares about them and who pays attention to them.


Describe the feel of different objects, textures and temperatures as accurately as possible:


“This moss has a soft, bristly, moist surface. Feel how you can gently press it down.” 


“This road has a rough bumpy surface that hurts if you fall on it because it is hard. And the stones in the bitumen have sharp angles and are sometimes pointed like arrows. Feel how hard it is… Can you find a sharp stone?”


Accurate descriptions help toddler to understand and to describe touch-feelings when speaking herself.


  1. The ‘Feely Bag’. 


Each three months use the Feely Bag for one week as described above. When toddler can identify four objects in it correctly then she moves up to Level 6. If she does not identify the objects in the bag correctly then wait for three months before using it again. When you think toddler has nearly completed this Level the Feely Bag can be used for one week each month or two until she succeeds in identifying four objects in it. 


  1. Massage.


If you prefer to continue massaging toddler then massage her for ten minutes three or more times each day using the same techniques as previously..



What toddler should be doing at this Level of development:


  • Recognising some objects that she cannot see by feeling them with her hands.


Toddler indicates that she can do this when, for example, (I) you put a small doll or a toy car into her hands to play ‘What Is It?’ and she correctly tells you what the object is, or (ii) you notice that she picks up a familiar object(s) without looking at it.


What toddler should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:


  • Recognising by touch four quite differently shaped objects such as a pencil, button, marble and cube that she cannot see in a ‘feely bag’.

When baby can do this she is a graduate to the next Level, Feeling Well Level 6. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 6.



An average child is likely to move on to Level 6 at approximately age 36 months.


A magnificentchildren.love child could potentially move on to Level 6 at approximately age 18 months.