Friday, May 13, 2011

Sensory Play

Our senses provide us with important information about ourselves and our world. Infants’ or toddlers’ primary source of taking in information is through their senses. A tactile toy offered in our Creativity Connections Young Explorers (CCYE) area invites children to touch, manipulate and explore different textured materials mounted on pieces of curved wood. The pieces were specifically designed for small hands to pick up and manipulate.

The picture on the left shows the new version with its marvelously different textures mounted on the wall. Underneath is a smaller version that has been part CCYE area for a while. The larger choice offers a toddler's developing coordination greater opportunities to explore his senses using a full body experience. Mark Wickart, our Exhibit Fabrication Manager, along with Dave Dumford, DCM volunteer, collected the varying textures from unrelated items around the shop. Dowel rods glued into place create quite a bumpy and, at the same time, a smooth texture to explore. Mark and Dave also found plastic rope, carpet pieces, sand paper and rubber stair tread. Mark, a sculptor and wood craftsman in his spare time, took a piece of kitchen counter-top and carved it into a series of hills and valleys for one of the sensory pieces. He also carved an intricate design out of some scrap wood. All of these unique pieces allow children to explore a variety of textures and expand their vocabulary as they talk about or are asked to describe what they feel.

Next time you're in the Museum come and explore our new Sensory Table in Creativity Connections Young Explorers.

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