Toys for Touch

Touch is far more important for childhood development than technology. I was reminded of that while reading an article in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle about innovative local toy companies.A number of them explicitly sing the praises and benefits of tactile play.

One successful company featured is Folkmanis Puppets which notes that a “a puppet encourages imaginative, open-ended play, endearing hugs, and snuggly companionship.” Have you ever noticed how much puppets love to touch themselves and each other? I’ve been wondering why I have this compulsion to see the new Muppets movie.

Only in the Bay Area would there be a company called Plushy Feely Corp. that designs and promotes cuddly Kimochi dolls that helps kids learn to understand and express their feelings. The product that caught my eye was Huggtopus, a multi-limbed creature who is “very affectionate and strong and sometimes gets a little carried away by her big friendly personality. Huggs always means well but has to learn about boundaries.”

Learn about boundaries. I love it! Their animated video about hugs is  priceless.

Tactile sensitivity is a learned motor skill essential to neurological development. Touch appropriateness is a learned social skill essential to the formation and maintenance of healthy relationships. Carefully selected toys can help develop both.

Of course, there is no substitute for human touch, so don’t forget to pass plenty of that around this holiday season as well.

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