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Texture - funny old word, but the world is full of different ones...everything we feel and consume has texture, and babies and toddlers are fascinated to be able to explore the world of textures around them. Babies need little encouragement to feel different textures from an early age - they learn through touch so exploring textures is both a natural desire and an important part of early development.
Most toys and books aimed at babies and young toddlers are designed to stimulate the sense of touch - they might have bumpy, crinkly, shiny, soft, furry, rough or smooth surfaces and children will delight in feeling the different materials.
Besides commercial goods, there are lots of activities that you can undertake to encourage exploration of textures. Collect items from nature outside - crinkly leaves, shiny nuts, spiky seed pods, rough bark, smooth stones and so on. Hunt for as many different textures as you can find. If the weather's poor, explore craft materials with different textures; soft tissue paper, corrugated cardboard, smooth ribbon, shiny foil, smooth plastic bottle caps and so much more. Take your collected items and create a collage, make a picture by sticking your objects to a sheet of stiff paper. You'll end up with a great touchy-feely picture and your babies will have learned lots about different textures along the way!