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Preschool Flashcards Tactile Learners

Understanding Tactile Preschool Learners: The Importance of Hands-On Learning

As preschoolers begin to explore and learn about the world around them, they rely heavily on their senses to gather information and make sense of their experiences. For some preschoolers, their sense of touch – or tactile sense – plays a particularly important role in their learning and development. In this article, we’ll explore what it means to be a tactile preschool learner, why hands-on learning is essential for their growth and development, and how you can support their learning through tactile activities.

What are Tactile Preschool Learners?

Tactile preschool learners are preschoolers who rely heavily on their sense of touch to learn and explore. These preschoolers often prefer hands-on activities that allow them to touch, feel, and manipulate objects in their environment. They may enjoy activities such as building with blocks, playing with playdough or clay, and exploring sensory bins filled with different textures and materials.

For tactile preschool learners, touch is a primary way of processing information and making connections in their brain. Through touch, they can explore the physical properties of objects, such as their size, shape, weight, and texture, and begin to understand concepts such as cause-and-effect and spatial relationships.

Why is Hands-On Learning Important for Tactile Preschool Learners?

Hands-on learning is essential for tactile preschool learners because it allows them to engage their sense of touch and learn through exploration and experimentation. When preschoolers are given opportunities to touch and manipulate objects in their environment, they are more likely to remember and understand what they have learned.

In addition, hands-on learning can help to foster creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills in tactile preschool learners. By manipulating objects and experimenting with different materials, preschoolers can develop their fine motor skills and spatial awareness, as well as their ability to think critically and solve problems.

How to Support Tactile Preschool Learners through Tactile Activities

If you have a tactile preschool learner in your life, there are many ways you can support their learning and development through tactile activities. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Sensory Bins: Create a sensory bin filled with different materials, such as rice, beans, sand, or water beads. Encourage your preschooler to explore the materials with their hands and manipulate them in different ways.

  • Playdough and Clay: Provide your preschooler with playdough or clay and encourage them to shape and mould it into different objects. You can also add different materials, such as googly eyes or pipe cleaners, to inspire their creativity and imagination.

  • Texture Walks: Take your preschooler on a texture walk and encourage them to touch different surfaces, such as smooth pavement, rough bark, or bumpy rocks. Ask them to describe how the surfaces feel and how they are different from each other.

  • Building with Blocks: Provide your preschooler with blocks of different shapes and sizes and encourage them to build structures using their imagination and problem-solving skills.

  • Messy Play: Messy play activities, such as finger painting, shaving cream play, or water play, can provide tactile preschool learners with opportunities to explore different textures and materials in a fun and engaging way.

    Tactile Activities for Preschoolers

    Incorporating tactile activities into the daily routine can greatly benefit tactile learners. Here are some ideas for tactile activities that can engage preschoolers and help them learn:

    Sensory Bins

    Sensory bins are a great way to engage tactile learners. They provide an opportunity for preschoolers to explore different textures and materials in a contained environment. Sensory bins can be filled with materials like sand, rice, beans, or even water with objects to find and manipulate. Sensory bins are also versatile, as they can be themed for different seasons or holidays.


    Playdough is a classic tactile activity that can be easily made at home. It allows preschoolers to shape and manipulate the dough, creating various textures and shapes. Playdough is also a great way to improve fine motor skills, as preschoolers need to use their hands to shape and manipulate the dough.

    Shaving Cream

    Shaving cream is another fun tactile activity for preschoolers. It can be spread out on a table or tray for preschoolers to explore, creating different patterns and textures. Shaving cream can also be mixed with food coloring to create a rainbow effect.

    Finger Painting

    Finger painting is a great way for preschoolers to engage their sense of touch while also creating art. The act of using their fingers to paint can be therapeutic for tactile learners, and the texture of the paint can provide a unique sensory experience. Finger painting can be messy, so it’s important to provide a space that can be easily cleaned up.

    Tactile Games

    Games that involve touch can also be engaging for tactile learners. Examples include games that involve feeling and identifying different textures or objects in a bag or box, or games that involve stacking or building with materials like blocks or Legos.

    Strategies for Teaching Tactile Preschoolers

    Here are some additional strategies for teachers and parents to engage tactile preschool learners:

    Hands-On Learning

    Hands-on learning is essential for tactile learners. Providing opportunities for preschoolers to engage with materials and manipulate them with their hands can greatly enhance their learning experience. For example, when teaching math concepts like counting or addition, providing manipulatives like blocks or beads can help tactile learners understand the concepts in a more tangible way.

    Multi-Sensory Learning

    Incorporating multiple senses into the learning experience can also benefit tactile learners. For example, when teaching about the weather, incorporating visuals like pictures or videos along with tactile materials like cotton balls or water can help tactile learners better understand the concept.

    Movement Breaks

    Movement breaks are important for all preschoolers, but especially for tactile learners who may need more opportunities to move and engage with their environment. Incorporating movement breaks throughout the day can help tactile learners release excess energy and refocus their attention.

    Verbal Cues

    For tactile learners who may struggle with traditional classroom activities like sitting still and listening to a lecture, providing verbal cues can be helpful. For example, when introducing a new concept or activity, verbally describing the materials and how they feel can help tactile learners better engage with the activity.

    As mentioned earlier, tactile learners thrive on hands-on activities, and their sense of touch is an essential part of their learning process. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with ample opportunities to engage in activities that involve manipulating materials, textures, and shapes.

    Here are some ideas for activities that can cater to tactile learners:

  • Sensory Bins: Sensory bins are a great way to engage preschoolers in tactile activities. Fill a large bin with various materials like sand, rice, beans, or water beads, and add tools like scoops, spoons, and cups. Preschoolers can explore these materials by scooping, pouring, and sifting, which helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

  • Playdough: Playdough is another excellent tool for tactile learners. It can be moulded, shaped, and rolled into different forms, providing endless opportunities for exploration and creativity. You can also add different textures to the playdough by adding materials like sand or rice.

  • Finger Painting: Finger painting is a fun and mess-free way for preschoolers to explore different textures and colours. They can use their fingers to create patterns, shapes, and designs, and experiment with mixing colours.

  • Nature Walks: Taking preschoolers on nature walks is an excellent way to engage their sense of touch. They can feel the textures of different leaves, bark, and flowers and explore the different shapes and sizes of rocks and sticks.

  • Sensory Balloons: Fill balloons with different materials like rice, sand, or water, and tie them off. Preschoolers can squeeze, poke, and explore the textures of the balloons, which also helps develop hand strength.

  • Building Blocks: Building blocks are a great tool for tactile learners to explore different shapes and sizes. They can use their hands to manipulate the blocks and create different structures, which helps develop spatial awareness.

  • Sensory Baking: Baking is an excellent way to engage the sense of touch. Preschoolers can knead dough, mix ingredients, and decorate their creations, which helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  • Sorting Activities: Sorting activities involve manipulating objects and sorting them according to different categories like colour, size, or shape. Preschoolers can sort objects like beads, buttons, or shapes, which helps develop cognitive skills like classification and problem-solving.

  • Sensory Table: A sensory table is a table with a shallow tray or bin filled with different materials like sand, water, or rice. Preschoolers can use tools like scoops, spoons, and cups to explore the different materials, which helps develop sensory processing skills.

  • Texture Walk: Set up an obstacle course with different textures like a soft cushion, a bumpy mat, or a furry rug. Preschoolers can take off their shoes and walk on the different textures, which helps develop sensory awareness and coordination.

  • Of course, here are some additional points to consider:

    It’s important to note that while tactile learners may struggle with traditional classroom instruction, they often excel in hands-on activities and real-world experiences. Preschool teachers can incorporate a variety of tactile activities into their lessons to engage these learners and help them thrive. Some examples of tactile activities for preschoolers include:

  • Sensory bins: Sensory bins are containers filled with materials that allow preschoolers to explore different textures, colours and materials using their hands. Teachers can create themed sensory bins based on the current topic being covered in the classroom, such as a farm-themed bin with hay, toy animals and plastic vegetables for a lesson on agriculture.

  • Art projects: Many tactile learners enjoy working with their hands and creating art. Teachers can provide a variety of materials for preschoolers to use, such as clay, paint, markers, and paper. Encouraging preschoolers to use their imagination and explore different textures and materials can be an effective way to engage tactile learners.

  • Role-playing and dramatic play: Tactile learners often enjoy using their bodies and voices to express themselves. Teachers can provide costumes, props, and role-playing scenarios for preschoolers to act out. For example, setting up a pretend restaurant with menus and play food can allow tactile learners to engage in imaginative play while also practicing social skills and communication.

  • Manipulatives and puzzles: Manipulatives and puzzles are physical objects that preschoolers can manipulate and explore with their hands. This can include blocks, legos, and shape sorters, which can help tactile learners develop spatial reasoning skills and problem-solving abilities.

  • By incorporating these activities into their lessons, preschool teachers can create an inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of all types of learners, including those who are tactile learners. By engaging tactile learners in hands-on activities, teachers can help them to develop important skills and gain a sense of mastery over their learning, which can lead to increased confidence and motivation in the classroom.


    Tactile preschool learners have a unique way of experiencing and learning about the world around them. By providing them with hands-on learning experiences that engage their sense of touch, you can support their growth and development and help them to thrive. Through tactile activities, preschoolers can develop their fine motor skills, spatial awareness, creativity, and problem-solving skills, while also having fun and enjoying the process of learning.

    Tactile learners are an important subset of preschoolers that require a unique approach to learning. By incorporating tactile activities, hands-on learning, multi-sensory experiences, movement breaks, and verbal cues, teachers and parents can create an environment that engages tactile learners and helps them thrive. With the right strategies and support, tactile learners can reach their full potential and succeed in the classroom and beyond.

    In conclusion, tactile learners have a unique learning style that involves hands-on activities and exploring textures, shapes, and materials. It is essential to provide them with ample opportunities to engage in activities that cater to their learning style, as it helps them develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensory processing skills.

    As teachers and parents, we need to recognise the importance of catering to different learning styles, and provide a variety of learning experiences that cater to the diverse needs of preschoolers. By engaging tactile learners in activities that involve their sense of touch, we can help them develop a lifelong love for learning and enhance their educational journey.