Exercises on the touch
Exercise: Brushing your teeth
Objective: To attentive to the sensations, without thinking or judging what they do o feel.
Material: every child brings his/her toothbrush. The educator brings some toothpaste.
How to do it: Every child brushes his/her teeth in slow motion. The supervisor guides the process, saying things like: We brush every tooth from the gum to the top, till the entire tooth and spaces between the teeth are full of toothpaste. We feel every tooth and the smooth movement of the toothbrush and our hand.
Sometimes the supervisor lets the children be quiet while they brush, and every now and then he asks them to observe what the sensations, without thinking or doing anything else.
In the end we ask: how did you feel doing this? Do you it in the same way at home? Is there any difference? Explain that doing things in a hurry is different from concentrating on only one thing. We encourage them to do it like that every day.
NOTE: To increase the need for attention, we can ask them to use the hand they do not usually use. If they’re right-handed, they’ll use their left hand. If they’re left-handed, the right one.
The same exercise can be applied to other everyday activities like combing, bathing, eating, drinking etc.
Exercise: Tell me what it is!
Objective: To be attentive to the sensations and describe them. Children have not to guess what it is, but to express how they are: rough, soft, round, round, square, wrinkled, irregular, cold, metallic, very small, etc.
Material: pieces and objects of different textures and a non-transparent plastic bag.
How to do it: Start with a short exercise on attention to the breath (2-3 minutes)
Various objects are placed in the plastic bag (for example: a sponge, dice cup, cubes, little bottle, cork, ball of wool, etc.). Children must not see the objects.
One child carefully inserts the hand into the bag and touches one object without seeing what it is. He or she has to tell the classmates the tangible characteristics of that object. The teacher reminds him or her to touch it without thinking what it is. The child should concentrate only on the sensation of touch. The rest of the children can ask: Is it flat? Is it thin? Is it round? Is it soft? Is it hard? Is it hairy? Is it rough?
Repeat with every child using different object.
Remember that the objective is to observe the touch stimulus and to have fun with it. To discriminate textures and to describe them.
Exercise: Feet painters
Objective: To pay attention to the sensations on their feet and balance.
Material: a sheet of plastic 5x5 meters and some clay or paint for children’s use.
The children should bring old clothes.
How to do it: The children spread the clay all over the sheet. Every child is given a small piece of clay. They start spreading the clay with their hands from the borders of the plastic sheet, without putting the feet on it. Afterwards they stand up and walk over the clay with the objective of painting the soles of their feet completely. They are asked to feel the touch of the clay and to paint the soles completely. Remind them that they should walk slowly and preserve the balance.
Exercise: Discover your classmate
Objective: Pay attention to the touch and the facial features of the classmate. To observe the differences between the classmates using touch.
How to do it: In pairs. On feet.
Blindfold half of the group. The remaining participants stand randomly, in front of the first group. The children with their eyes covered should touch the child in front of them, starting with his or her head, hair, eyes, forehead, ears, mouth, face, etc.
After a while the children change to another colleague and start to touch his or her head.
Later the roles change and the other half of the group is blindfolded.
In the end the children are asked to speak about what they were touching, how were they colleagues in touch: how was his or her hair, face, ears, etc.