AGE: 2 1/2 to 5 years
GET READY: Visit the hardware store (or dad’s garage) and pick up three strips of sandpaper; one fine, one medium and one very rough. Grab some cardboard and glue. You’ll also need a blindfold (make it yourself by covering the lenses of old sunglasses with tape) a small box or basket (see above) and a tray or box lid big enough to hold everything.
GET SET: Cut each sandpaper strip in half. Glue those strips to cardboard that you’ve sized to match. When you’re done, you’ll have two sets of sandpaper strips. Lay one set on your tray; put the other set into the small basket.
SIT BACK AND WATCH YOUR CHILD GO: With a very young child, begin by talking to her about how the different pieces of sandpaper feel. You might want to say something like, “This is the sandpaper that we bought at the hardware store. Feel this piece. It feels rough. Now, feel this piece. It feels rougher than the first one doesn’t it? Let’s go find other things that feel rough.”
AS YOUR CHILD GROWS: You’ll want to introduce new words and concepts. You may want to say, “This piece of sandpaper is rougher than the others.” Or, ask, “Which piece is the roughest of all?” By age 3 or 4 ask your child to put on the blindfold. With little instruction from you, she’ll learn to love putting on the blindfold and matching the feel of the sandpaper strips.
GET CREATIVE: Add to the fun by preparing matching pieces of fabric like cotton, silk, velvet, terrycloth, burlap, etc.
YOUR CHILD WILL LOVE: Feeling the different textures of the sandpaper, the blindfold, finding the matching sandpapers, the responsibility of carrying the tray.
YOU WILL LOVE: Watching your child’s vocabulary expand!