Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Experiment #3: Puffy Fingerpaint

I love shopping with my dad.

I think I just heard an audible gasp from everyone who has ever met either my dad or me. I am pretty sure that the only time the words “love” and “shopping” are uttered together in a sentence by either of us is to say, “I love it when the stores are closed and there is no possible way I can go shopping.” I just really hate shopping and so does my dad.
But shopping with my dad is awesome for two reasons:

  1. We have the same attention span for shopping (30 minutes max).
  2. We shop by feel.

The three times I have gone shopping with my dad, he would come back to the dressing room with a small pile of clothes - none of them matching (or even distantly coordinating), but all soft, smooth or silky. I like my clothes to look good, but I really like them to feel good.

I'm just a highly tactile person.  I like to knead dough, work with clay, walk barefoot, twirl my hair, wiggle in the sand, and play in the dirt. I have apparently passed this obsession on to my daughter. So at our house, we try to do lots of "hands-on" activitites.

Tactile stimulation is more than just a way to occupy a preschooler's time. It is now being recognized as a legitimate therapeutic treatment with exceptional benefits for everyone from preemies to Alzheimer patients. Modeling letters out of clay is used as a treatment for dyslexia. It has even been suggested that since serotonin, a brain chemical linked to depression, is more present when an individual is active, even fine motor movements can improve mood and combat depression (B.L. Jacobs, Princeton University).