Fabric Matching Game


Refine the sense of 'touch' with these 'teachable touchable' fabric squares!

Montessori practitioners will be familiar with the 'Fabric Bag' or 'Fabric Squares'. This is a Sensorial activity that utilises and refines a child's sense of touch by encouraging the child to feel the textures of several different fabrics in order to match them by pairs. During my years in a Montessori classroom I have presented several different versions of this game, usually home-made collections, before finding this resource. Although I do love collecting and creating my own materials I have to be honest in admitting that this set has been particularly engaging and popular for my little Montessori learners! It is frequently picked from our Sensorial shelf and used with great enthusiasm. 

This set includes 10 'pairs' of matching textures (20 squares overall) within a drawstring bag. A 'tip sheet' is also included to offer some guidance and inspiration to teachers or parents.

This fabric set allows for you to stagger presentations according to a child's age and needs.
Younger children might simply like to explore the tactile beauty of each different texture and so you could simply place one of each texture (or a small selection) in a Treasure Basket style arrangement on the shelf. 
An adult could help to further guide these initial explorations by helping to introduce vocabulary to describe the different textures - 'rough', 'smooth', 'silky' and so forth.
Once a child has experienced each of the different textures it might be time to start matching. At first just a small selection of strongly contrasting textures could be picked and presented by the adult. I tend to begin by presenting 3, just to introduce the concept of the game, using the green silk squares, the white woolly squares and the light-brown 'vinyl' type square. Once a child has understood the intent of the activity more pairs can gradually be introduced. 
I find this to be a really engaging group activity and it provides a great opportunity for collaborative work for a collection of students in a classroom or for siblings at home. A child who has previously mastered the game with an adult can be offered the chance to take on the leadership role of passing the fabrics to a partner or a group of friends. I love observing this little self-sustaining activity in action!
Some children will have the self-control to simply keep his or her eyes closed while feeling the textures but I choose to offer children a small blindfold to wear as they feel the textures. This helps to isolate the tactile sense and removes the instinct to 'peek'. It also seems to heighten the sense of joy and excitement felt when a child removes the blindfold to check after assessing that the fabrics feel "the same". 
Please see our gallery images to see the fabrics in action. I particularly love the photo showing the little boy's joy when he lifts his blindfold and discovers that he has correctly matched a pair! The fabrics are almost a blur in the photo as he excitedly waves them back and forth in celebration of his achievement!