Preschoolers learn by touching and experiencing, so teach the concepts of textures and opposites by using rough and smooth. These textures are found everywhere, so they are easy to use as teaching props. Once children have learnt the difference between rough and smooth, move on to teaching preschoolers about other textures.
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Exploring their own homes and classrooms helps children learn to detect the textures that are found in any environment. Conduct a texture hunt by first asking children to help make a list of textures. Give some suggestions of the different ways items feel, such as bumpy or soft. To make the hunt manageable, explain that you are going to focus on smooth and rough items. Ask children to slowly move around the classroom or play yard to look for items that fit these categories. Gather children back together and ask them to report what smooth and rough items they found.
Blindfolded Hide and Seek
Help children learn to pick out rough and smooth items from among many textures. Place a variety of items in the box, each with a different texture. Include one smooth item such as a polished rock, and one rough item such as a piece of sand paper. Blindfold children or cover the box and cut a hole in the side large enough for their hands to fit through. Give each child a turn to feel inside the box and identify the smooth and rough items.
When preschoolers create their own books about rough and smooth, they will be able to reflect on the topics long after the lesson is over. Set out rough objects, such as sandpaper and pieces of tree bark, along with smooth objects, such as wooden blocks. Pass out pieces of white paper and coloured pencils or peeled crayons. Children place one piece of paper on top of each object and rub the pencils or crayons on top to create impressions. Help children staple their papers together to create "Rough and Smooth" books.
Use clay to help children create their own rough and smooth surfaces. Give each child a lump of clay and ask him to break it into two pieces. Set out paintbrushes, rolling pins and plastic utensils. Ask children to experiment to see how to make one piece feel smooth. They can use their hands or the rolling pins to smooth out the surface of the clay. When the smooth piece is done, ask children to make the other piece of clay rough using the brushes and utensils.
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