Why Motor Skills Matter


“Touch has a Memory” -John Keats

By Cara Yochai, DPT

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Touch it. Feel it. Explore it. Learn it. Remember it.

The sense of touch is so powerful. It is important to appreciate that not all people feel tactile input the same way. For some, a light touch might actually feel painful and cause a sense of fear and panic. While for others, it might be difficult to sense that very same light touch. The second person in this example might need to feel a firm touch, to process being touched at all.  It is necessary to keep these differences in mind when playing with children and be mindful that what feels one way for one child may feel completely different for another. When the body is touched or touches something, the nervous system is actually very hard at work relaying information to and from the brain to process what is being felt.

There are many opportunities to challenge the brain and introduce new tactile experiences.

Explore some of these tactile activities on a summer day at the beach:

  • Feel the sand with your hands and your feet.

    • Does it feel different on various parts of the body?

  • Touch the very top of the sand and underneath a big pile of sand.

    • Does the temperature change?

    • Is it wet or dry?

  • Pick up one tiny grain and then a huge handful.

    • Do they feel the same?

  • Head on over to the ocean and collect some water in a bucket to bring back to the sand.

    • Does the texture of the sand change?

  • Hide a toy in the sand.

    • Can you dig with your hands and find it?

Enjoy the tactile experiences at the beach this summer. Take a moment to think about all of the amazing things to feel. Appreciate your child’s ability to learn about different textures and sensory information through the power of touch.

It is sure to be a day to remember.


Connor McCarthy