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A simple but powerful Sensory Set featuring handmade and natural materials.
This set allows children to explore tactile information and engage in what Dr Montessori called 'stereognostic sorting'.
Stereognosis (or 'haptic perception') is the ability to make judgements about an object without visual or auditory input, relying solely on tactile data such as size, shape and texture. Human beings heavily rely on our stereognostic sense in our day to day lives yet adults often overlook opportunities to help children exercise this ability. This Sensory Set is one of many possible ways to help children focus more deliberately on the data that their fingertips collect.
The Sensory Set consists of 4 pairs of objects that are similar in basic size (all have a diameter of around 8cm - 9cm) but differ in texture, density, exact dimensions and weight.
A child might simply explore the different objects - collecting the sensory information and perhaps using it to make judgements (e.g. "This is the softest") or to apply descriptive language (e.g. "The wood feels smooth.")
A child can also use the Sensory Set as a matching game, wearing a blindfold (or keeping the eyes closed tightly - no peeking!) so that the hands alone determine the matching pairs.
For safety reasons this product is recommended for ages 3+.
Children with sensory processing issues may also enjoy engaging with materials like these that offer different types of tactile data in a safe, controlled context.
An adult could use these materials with 'sensory seeker' to help the child learn to hold the object gently, to slow down and concentrate on individual sensations, to focus on making comparative judgements between the objects to link the physical experience with cognitive processing.
On the other hand, an adult could help a 'sensory avoider' to become gradually more comfortable with sensations by first presenting the wood slices, which are smooth and firm, before introducing the more stimulating objects. The child who tends to avoid sensory experiences may initially just want to touch an object with a fingertip, then might proceed to holding an object in an outstretched hand, and may then feel ready to squeeze or stroke it. The adult can help role model the stages to provide reassurance.