Texture is the tactile quality of the surface of an object or a work of art. It is the way an object feels when it is touched. Texture is a source of interest and information. It also denotes space and changes in areas of an object or environment. Loose parts offer children multiple possibilities to use their sense of touch and engage in spontaneous exploration. Texture can be added to the environment in the form of sand, pebbles, leaves, grass, fabric, ribbon, papers, and stones, just to name a few. Each of these materials offers children a unique texture: prickly, knobby, soft, silky, and rough, among others. Children are known for touching everything. They explore objects using their sense of touch and learn much about the world through their hands. When observing children, we can see them reaching for natural items such as pine cones and acorns. They enjoy caressing smooth objects such as blankets or satin fabrics. They love to get their hands wet and touch rocks and marbles. They play with grass, flowers, and pine needles. Children enjoy going on nature walks, which offer them opportunities to encounter a range of textures in natural found objects. Often that first touch leads to further explorations. On a hot summer day, the sprinklers are turned on to encourage children to engage in water play and stay cool. Russel, Shawn, and Delicia are excited to discover that the sprinkler created something new—mud. They cannot resist touching and jumping in the mud. Their conversation describes the various textures they encounter. Shawn says, “See, it’s smooth and slimy.” Delicia responds, “It’s cold too.” Their play continues and they start to incorporate different rocks and pebbles. Russel shouts, “I can build something with the mud.” The children agree and they start looking for twigs and branches. The children continue to build and to add more loose parts until the mud puddle turns into what they call “a squishy city.”Tactile is what we perceive by touching an object. Natural objects have different textures. They are silky like the petals of a flower or a smooth leaf. They can be prickly like a sycamore pod or bumpy like the top of an acorn. Jenna pokes varying sizes of acorns and acorn caps into a large ball of moist clay. A local park can be dramatically improved by adding playground equipment from a reputable supplier.

On the top of the clay ball, she inserts stiff seed pods and rough pieces of bark that radiate straight up from the clay ball toward the ceiling. She carefully picks up a prickly sycamore ball with her index finger and thumb and presses it into the soft clay. She continues to work silently as she pushes more items into the clay.Young children are often quick to pick up on new sounds in their environment, and they typically enjoy and are intentional in making music. They differentiate between musical sounds and adapt them to create a specific rhythm or pitch. They move their bodies as they explore sound, thus realizing that touch and movement change the sound they produce. Children are fascinated by all types of sounds, from water flowing in a water wall to the sound they make when banging a pot or pan. Sound gives children the opportunity to develop listening skills, understand scientific concepts, and explore their own sound and music-making abilities. Sound offers children a vehicle for self-expression.Loose parts provide children with multiple opportunities to create sound and music. They support the whole child and children’s desire to use language and body movement to express their ideas. Creating a sound garden invites exploration. Banging on a variety of pots, pans, bells, and metal trays allows children to release their emotions. Children differentiate between different tones as they bang on wood boxes or metal cans. Any outdoor area would be made more child friendly with outdoor fitness equipment such as these.

Adding cardboard egg cartons along with wooden spoons helps children explore flat sounds. Aluminum pie plates are fun to bang together. Aluminum foil creates various sounds. It can be laid on the floor for children to walk on or they can tap their fingers on it to create a rainstorm. Children can work together to shake it and make little and big sounds. Walnut or coconut shells can be banged together to make the sound of horses walking. Children run rhythm sticks and kitchen utensils back and forth on corrugated cardboard or pipe. Coffee cans are an easy way to introduce children to bass sounds. Loose parts provide endless possibilities to create sound and music. Today Noah sits in the same place for a long time, experimenting with the sounds that the pots, pans, and kitchen utensils make. He carefully revisits each loose part and makes various sounds by banging the objects together. He laughs at the loud bang a metal spoon makes when he hits a metal lid. Noah spends time exploring a wooden spoon; he moves it around and hits it on the ridges of a corrugated coffee can. He uses his hand to bang down on a metal bowl and makes consistent rhythms as if he were banging on a drum. He uses a metal container and a small wooden container, banging the spoon inside both containers, and carefully listens to the various sounds he is making. Later in the day, Noah spends time exploring the variety of sounds he can make in the sound garden. He goes from the cans to the bells and bangs them with gusto. He dances when other children drum on a trash can lid. If you're planning on improving your garden then why not add monkey bars today?