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




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


  • To be able to identify small differences in objects by touch; when she cannot see them.



A finer sense of touch:


During this Level your child’s ability to feel and identify objects by touch should become much more accurate. Experiencing touch feelings in the dark and playing games using a ‘feely bag’ help her to develop at this Level.


Fun in the dark:


In the days before electricity made bright light readily available for 24 hours each day the natural opportunity to feel one’s way about at night arose more frequently.  Feeling their way about in the dark was one of the natural ways children developed their tactile sense. Now that artificial night-light is so common in many parts of the world we can recreate the natural environment by simply turning out the light for some playtime. 


You can have some fun and help your child to develop at this tactile Level by playing games in the dark. One simple game that the average child will thoroughly enjoy is ‘Fun in the Dark’. ‘Fun in the Dark’ is played by simply turning off the lights at night so your child can feel objects in the dark without relying on her sense of sight. For example she can feel a group of objects you prepared in the light and try to identify them in the dark. Change the objects every two, three or four days to create new interest for your child. Some homes can be darkened sufficiently during the day to play these games. 


Play ‘Fun In The Dark’ for only about five to twenty seconds the first time you play. Gradually increase the length of time up to ten minutes each day over about two to three weeks as your child begins to accept and enjoy the game.  When you have been playing for 10 minutes every night for a month or more you can try playing more adventurous ‘Fun In The Dark’ games. For example, encourage your child to feel her way across the room by touching the furniture, a wall or the floor. Draw your child’s attention to the use of her sense of touch as a means by which she can find her way around when you begin to play. Stop and feel objects in the dark and talk about them; search in the dark for a favourite toy, or play ‘find Mummy’, or ‘find Daddy’ or ‘find Toddler’. Over the weeks and months ahead, work towards your child being able to move independently in the dark without holding on to you. Beware of bumped heads and other risks as even a very slight accident can deter some children from continuing and will require building up their confidence again. 


Most children will play ‘Fun In The Dark’ enthusiastically from the start. During the first few weeks cuddle your child close to you when you start the game. Never say anything like “This is scary, I’m frightened”. To the contrary always make statements such as (for the first week at least), “Isn’t it beautiful in the dark. We can hear and feel things. Can you feel my hand? I can feel yours.” 


Obviously games should only be played under safe conditions. Also, for your child’s continuing enjoyment of ‘Fun In The Dark’ it is important that she does not get hurt and never should another person deliberately frighten her. Other children and adults who do not know how to relate well to children will sometimes use fear of the dark as a means of dominating the play or because they don’t know what else to do. It is important to ensure that play remains on the subject of touch-feeling for the required amount of time and it is best not to have anyone except those who you totally trust involved in darkness play; or enjoyment and child development may be disrupted. 



Head or tail. 


As your child’s ability to identify surfaces by touch improves she can begin to play “Head or Tail.” Head or Tail is a game where she identifies the head from the tail side of a coin by touch. At first the largest available coin is used and then, as her tactile ability develops, smaller coins are used at Level 7. 


Massage and touching.


If you prefer to continue with massaging then continue massaging your child each day. 


Whenever possible draw her attention to touching objects to identify them rather than by only looking at them.



Activities for parents and children:


  1. The ‘Feely Bag’.


Use the Feely Bag three times each day until your child can correctly identify seven objects in the bag by touch. Then begin to play again with only one object not previously used and build up to seven (not previously used) objects again as she learns to recognise the objects by touch.  Continue to repeat this procedure, by starting again with one object and building up to seven objects your child has not previously used in the bag, until she completes this Level 6 or she has successfully identified several hundred objects. Keep the sessions brisk, only about one minute for seven objects, so the Feely Bag remains interesting for your child.


  1. ‘What Is It?’


Play ‘What Is It?’ ten times each day. But now, whenever you place an object in your child’s hands give just one clear description about how it feels. For example say, “It feels furry,” or “ It feels hard,” or “It’s moist,” or “It feels like rubber.”


  1. Fun in the dark:


Play ‘Fun In The Dark’ each evening for the length of time stated above.


  1. Massage:


Continue to massage your child daily as described in previous Levels.


  1. Maintain an attitude: 


Actively and enjoyably play ‘Fun In The Dark’ and other touch-feeling games with your child. Lavishly praise her achievements.  Remember that it is a tremendous achievement when your child even finds an object in a ‘feely bag’. Don’t show disappointment if your child doesn’t immediately identify an object by touch alone.  She is developing the ability to do that and needs your positive support for the things that she does do. Tell her many times every day that she is wonderful, very intelligent, beautiful, competent, gentle and strong; she is.  Every human being is all these things even though some may be stronger, more intelligent or more beautiful than others in some ways at some times. 


  1. Head or Tail:


Once each month do the following:


Three times in one day (morning, midday and afternoon) gently rub the head side of a large coin on your child’s fingertips and tell her, “This is the head side of this coin”. Then gently rub the other side of the coin on her fingertips and tell her, “This is the tail side of this coin”. Then place the coin under a cloth so that your child cannot see it and ask her to place her hand under the cloth and her fingertips on the coin. Then ask her to identify if she is feeling the head or the tail side of the coin. If she succeeds in identifying the up-facing side of the coin correctly three times in one day then repeat the game for each of the next three days. If she correctly identifies the up-facing side of the coin seven or more times during the three days then move on to Level 7. Ensure that she identifies both the tail and head side of the coin at least three times each during the three days. If your child does not correctly identify the faces of the coin then wait for one month and repeat the game again.





What your child should be doing at this Level of development:


  • Recognising by touch four or more objects such as pencils, buttons and coins which she cannot see in a ‘feely bag’.


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


  • Recognise one side of a coin from the other, by touch, when she cannot see the coin.

When baby can do this she is a graduate to the next Level, Feeling Well Level 7. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 7.



An average child is likely to move on to Level 7 at approximately age 6 years. 


A Magnificentchildren.love child could potentially move on to Level 7 at approximately age 3 years.