Early Art Experiences for the Tactual Learner

Early art experiences which are tactually orientated can be used to develop tactual skills. The following extract is from an art program by Martha Pamperin and is reproduced here with permission.

The activities that follow describe art objects and processes which are all interesting, pleasurable and fun to touch and handle. They are designed to give blind children the opportunity to create objects of art which they, themselves can appreciate and enjoy and which they can use to express their personal creativity.

Stuff-n-stuff

Process

Crumple something; then stuff it into a bag; then close up the bag. Bags can be assembled and arranged in some way. The result will be fun to touch and squeeze and generally fun to play with.

Materials

  • things to crumple: lots of things are fun to crumple: pieces of newspaper, pages torn from magazines, paper towels, sheets of plastic, tin foil, foam rubber, tissues, rags, leaves, etc
  • some kind of bag: fairly small paper bags are easiest to handle – cloth bags, nylon stockings, socks etc could also be used
  • something to keep the bags closed: paper bags can be twisted closed – scotch tape, string, rubber bands etc could also be used
  • a container for crumpled things which are ready for stuffing: a cardboard box or other container will be needed unless each crumpled piece will be stuffed into a bag as soon as it is crumpled.
  • something to hang finished bags from or attach the bags to – bags can be tacked to a bulletin board, hung from a rope or string, glued or taped to cardboard or the sides of a cardboard box etc

Activities

  • Crumple the materials and toss into a box. Let the child play with the crumpled materials in the box. The child can reach into the box and play or climb right in and enjoy.
  • Bags filled with crumpled stuff can be squeezed, pounded, rolled between the hands and rolled over with the whole body.
  • The find-it game: have a child or all the children in a class crumple materials and toss the crumpled pieces into a box or other container. When the container is full, let the children take turns finding an interesting object which you have or another child has hidden in the box.
  • Squeeze me board or squeeze me line: each day have the child crumple a different crumpleable item and stuff a small bag. Vary the kinds of bags as well as the kinds of crumpleables. You can vary the shape of the bag as well as the material of which it is made. Tie each stuffed bag with a string and attach it to the side of a cardboard box, a bulletin board or other firm surface. Let the child select the place where the bag will go on the board. Allow opportunity for the child to explore and experience the resulting display.

Benefits

While the child is having fun he/she will also:

  1. Develop finger and hand strength
  2. Develop wrist and finger dexterity
  3. Learn more about the inside and outside shapes of containers
  4. Learn more about the properties of various materials used
  5. Learn a sequence of activities leading to a goal
  6. Learn to participate with a group and work with other children toward a common end.

Stringing things

A wide variety of things can be assembled in a row by stringing them.

Process

For beginners, secure one end of the stringer so that the stringables can’t slide off. You can even secure one end through a hole in heavy cardboard; then scotch tape the cardboard and string end to the table top. The student then strings the stringables on the stringer. When the student is finished, the teacher can secure the free end of the string through another hole. The student can then explore and play with his/her creation, moving the materials back and forth on the string, tipping the cardboard so that the materials slide from one end to the other, turning the materials on the string and so on. Of course, the child may wish to wear his/her creation around wrist or neck or hang it by one end from the bulletin board.

Materials

  • stringables: cardboard tubes, beads, washers, nuts, macaroni, pieces of drinking straw, buttons, pieces of wood with holes, etc.
  • stringers: firm stuff is easier to use than wobbly stuff – pipe cleaners, pieces of wire coat hanger, doweling, drinking straws, shoe laces, thin wire, rope, string, thread yarn
  • (optional) something to attach the string to or hang it from

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