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Why Felt? | 15 Benefits of Felt Play

Updated: May 19

Felt boards and pieces aren't just for crafting; they can transform play into a fun learning adventure! This blog post explores how felt can boost imaginative play, cognitive skills, language learning, and emotional expression. From its many uses in teaching various subjects to its therapeutic benefits, discover 15 reasons why felt could be a fantastic addition to your child's playtime!


The Versatility of Felt Play


1. A helpful teaching aid


Felt is an awesome teaching tool! Each part of a story or concept - whether it's a character, number, letter, or shape - can spring to life with a touch of felt and a lot of imagination. The visual and hands-on nature of felt has a special way of grabbing a child's attention, making learning more engaging. When kids can actually interact with the pieces - placing them, moving them around, and getting creative - it not only makes learning fun but also helps those ideas stick in their minds.


2. Multisensory engagement


Not all educational resources are created equal. Felt toys stand out for their ability to engage multiple senses. Kids love the bright colors and soft textures. At the same time, placing and re-arranging felt pieces develops the sense of touch and spatial awareness. Auditory learning can also come into play when children talk about their creations or tell stories with the felt pieces.


Young girl playing with a dress up felt set

3. Safe for All Ages


The safety and versatility of felt make it a wonderful material accessible to children of all ages. Its soft texture and durability allow it to withstand the energetic play of kids while being gentle enough for the smallest hands to explore. Felt's tactile nature also provides sensory stimulation. This makes it an excellent choice for various educational and play activities that engage young ones' senses and creativity.


4. Developing Fine Motor Skills


Picking up, moving, and taking away felt pieces is not only fun but also incredibly beneficial for developing fine motor skills. These skills are essential for tasks such as writing and handling objects with precision and control. When kids engage in play with felt materials, they are unknowingly boosting the dexterity and strength of the small muscles in their hands.


Felt play encourages fine motor skills

5. Sparking Imagination and Creativity


One of the best things about felt is its versatility. It can be used to make anything from animals and plants to food and buildings. This opens up endless possibilities for imaginative play and storytelling. Children can use their own ideas or follow patterns to create unique felt pieces, sparking creativity and developing problem-solving skills.


Boosting Cognitive Development


6. Enhancing Spatial Awareness


When a child puts a piece of felt on a board, they start to discover concepts of space, direction, and size relationships. These skills are fundamental for spatial reasoning and lay the groundwork for math readiness. By playing with felt objects, kids are growing their grasp of these spatial ideas, often without realizing they're learning.


7. Improving Attention and Understanding


Felt materials invite children into a world of their own creation, providing an interactive and engaging platform for learning. This immersive experience can keep children focused for longer periods, which is crucial for building attention spans. Moreover, the hands-on approach encourages not just memorization but a deeper understanding of the material as children play and experiment with the felt pieces.


A child matching the picture with the correct letter

8. Memory and Learning


The tactile nature of felt play contributes to a richer learning experience, involving touch, vision, and often, hearing. Studies have shown that children who engage in multisensory activities tend to have better attention and memory. It´s much easier to remember information information that has been experienced across various senses. This is why felt play leads to more effective learning outcomes and a greater retention of information.



Fostering Language Development


9. Introduction to New Concepts and Vocabulary


Felt stories and activities can be tailored to introduce new concepts and vocabulary. Whether it's the parts of the body, farm animals, or colors of the rainbow, the felt board serves as a visual anchor for language learning, making abstract words more concrete. When children are more engaged, they are more likely to retain the new vocabulary, which can in turn enrich their language skills.


A book about pirate adventures

10. Storytelling with Felt


Who doesn't love a good story? With felt pieces, children can create and tell stories of their own. This interactive storytelling is not only fun but also a powerful way to reinforce narrative skills and language development. Children can practice sequencing, use new words in context, and develop a sense of story structure, all by moving and adjusting their felt characters and props.



Learning and Expressing Emotions Through Felt


11. A Safe Outlet for Strong Emotions


Felt activities can help children express their emotions in a safe and creative way. By creating stories or scenes that reflect their feelings, kids can freely share without feeling pressured. This can be particularly helpful for children who find it hard to express themselves verbally or are dealing with strong emotions.


12. Encouraging Empathy and Self-Awareness


Using felt characters to role-play and create scenarios can be a gateway to developing empathy. By seeing the world from another perspective, children begin to understand that others may feel and experience things differently. This is an essential step in their social and emotional development, as it lays the groundwork for kind and considerate behavior towards others.


A child learning about emotions

13. Supporting Therapy and Emotional Development


Felt is increasingly used as a therapeutic tool, especially in play therapy for young children. The non-verbal nature of play, combined with the tactile and visual components of felt materials, can help children express and process difficult emotions and experiences in a comfortable and natural setting.



An Inclusive World with Felt Play


14. Diverse and Inclusive Playtime


One of the greatest attributes of felt play is its adaptability and inclusivity. It can be a medium where diversity is easily celebrated and incorporated. Different cultures, abilities, genders, and ethnicities can all be represented through felt characters and stories. This teaches children about the rich tapestry of humanity in a manner that is respectful and engaging.


Paper cut outs shaped like humans in different colors

15. Sensory-Sensitive and Accessible


Felt is an ideal material for children with sensory sensitivities or disabilities. Its soft, non-abrasive texture is gentle and comforting, while the lack of noise can help create a calming play environment. Felt pieces can be used in developing a wide range of skills, from fine motor dexterity to language and social interaction, making it a versatile and sensitive approach to learning and therapy.


Conclusion


Felt´s ability to cover various areas of development — cognitive, language, and emotional — makes it a valuable asset for parents, educators, and therapists alike. The adaptability of felt materials, together with their inclusivity and engaging nature, creates a more tactile and immersive learning experience for children. So why not incorporate some felt play into your child's daily routine? It may open the door to a more diverse, sensitive, and empathetic world for them. And who knows, you might even enjoy it too!

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