Touchable Textures

Children will learn about the sense of touch.

Lesson Objective

Children will explore the sense of touch by examining a variety of textured materials.


What You'll Need

  • Cardboard squares, about 4” x 4” – 2 per texture
  • A variety of textured items such as yarn, velvet, corduroy, lace, sandpaper, buttons, flannel, tinfoil, pebbles, salt, cotton balls, wool, sequins, pipe cleaners, and gift wrap – enough to cover two 4”x4” squares
  • A large opaque container, such as a paper grocery bag or a box with a cover
  • Items from around the classroom that have a distinct shape or texture, such as toy cars, chalk, crayons, puzzle pieces, small balls, etc.
  • Glue
  • Chart paper and marker

What To Do

Note: This lesson requires preparation prior to the day of the lesson.
To create the sensory cards:

  1. Create two sets of sensory cards: one set for the children and one set for the teacher.
  2. Cut the cardboard into 4-inch squares, two for each sensory item.
  3. Glue each of the sensory items (yarn, tinfoil, sandpaper, etc.) onto each of two cards.
  4. Make a large number of cards for variety. The more variety of textures the better the activity.
  5. Let the cards dry overnight.

Part 1

  1. Put the objects that you have collected from the classroom into the large container (close it so that the children cannot see what is inside).
  2. Assure the children that there is nothing scary in the container; all of the items are from their classroom. Have one of the children close his or her eyes and reach into the container to feel one of the objects without pulling it out of the container.
  3. Ask the children if they can guess what they are feeling, name the object, then pull it out and look at it. Encourage the children by asking probing questions (see Guiding Student Inquiry). Invite each child to take a turn.

Part 2

  1. Distribute the cards from the children’s set of texture cards, one per child, and have them use just their fingertips to explore.
  2. Encourage the children to take turns describing what they feel. Write their descriptive words on the chart paper. Provide enhanced vocabulary when needed, emphasizing words such as soft, rough, scratchy, smooth, cool, warm, and hard.
  3. Give the children time to compare and contrast their cards with each other.
  4. Select one of your cards and show it to the children.
  5. Ask the children to find the matching texture card. Encourage the children to touch your card and their own cards to compare the textures.
  6. When you locate the child with the matching card, let him or her hold both cards. Select another card and repeat the process until each child has matching texture cards.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe what you think might be in this container.
  • Explain what you can learn by using just your hands (touching) and not your eyes.
  • Describe how that object feels to you. Does it feel rough, bumpy, or smooth?
  • Tell me about the size of the item.
  • Describe the shape of the item.
  • Tell me what that texture makes you think of.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Place both sets of texture cards in the discovery center as a matching game. The children can place them face down on the table and take turns flipping over two cards to see or feel if they match.
  • Provide construction paper, glue, scissors, and small pieces of material for the children to make touch collages. Materials could include foil, newspaper, sandpaper, velvet, fabric, gift wrap, cardboard, tissue paper, paper towels, or pieces of paper bags.
  • Surprise children with unexpected texture experiences. You could cover a table with plastic wrap or tinfoil one day, stick double-sided tape to the floor, or wrap yarn around door handles.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Did children use their hands and fingers to explore and compare a variety of textures?
  • Could children explain how they used their hands to identify objects?
  • Could children describe the various textures?


Did You Know

The sense of touch is one of our five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Our sense of touch is found in touch receptors in our skin. The skin is the largest organ of the human body. We can sense touch all over our bodies, but we have a higher concentration of touch receptors in certain parts of our bodies. There are 100 touch receptors on each of our fingertips. We use our fingers and our sense of touch to do many things every day. Our fingertips are very important to our ability to learn about the world around us.

Our touch receptors have the ability to sense different things. The most common sensations are cold, heat, pain, and pressure. The nerve endings in our fingertips send messages to the brain and the brain identifies what we are touching. Then the brain tells us how to react to what we are feeling.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • hand – the part of the body at the end of the arms that has fingers.
  • fingers – one of five long parts at the end of the hand.
  • fingertip – the extreme tip of the finger.
  • touch – to put one’s hands or fingers on something in order to feel it.
  • texture – the way something feels when you touch it.
  • skin – the thin outer covering of the body.

Lesson Tips

  • Empty cereal boxes are a great source of cardboard for this project.
  • Some children might be uncomfortable with touching unfamiliar items. Let them sit near a peer who is comfortable touching a variety of textures.
  • Older children can help you prepare the texture cards by cutting the items and gluing them onto the cards.


  • Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
  • Hands Can by Cheryl Willis Hudson
  • Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! by Sandra Boynton
  • Touch by Maria Rius
  • Touch & Feel Town by Dwell Studios
  • Touch and Feel Old Macdonald by Lara Ede

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS