Refine the sense of 'touch' with this delightful Tactile Matching Game!
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. This is a slight variation on that theme, with the exterior fabrics of the squares feeling the same but the interior housing different objects or hidden details that change the way the fabric feels.
This set includes 10 'pairs' of matching sets (20 squares overall) within a drawstring bag. The little fabric squares measure approximately 5cm x 5cm.
Each pair of fabric has a unique tactile experience - from little marbles hidden inside the pouch to simply a 'crinkly' feeling within. The pairs are further differentiated by the fact that their exterior fabrics match in colour and pattern - this acts as a 'self-correcting mechanism' so that the child can make the match using only their sense of touch but then use their sense of sight to check and assess their guess.
The manufacturer recommends this resource for ages 3+
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.
-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. Once a child has understood the intent of the activity more pairs can gradually be introduced.
-Children can engage in matching the pairs as a group activity, which 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 (or reaching into the bag to feel the different options without seeing them) but I often 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".