Sense & Feel the Fabrics

Sense & Feel the Fabrics

  • 30
  • 60


  • Find Calm

What you need

  1. A cloth bag
  2. A selection of squares of textured fabrics (at least 2 of each). For example, silk, cord, faux fur, suede, velvet, etc.


Did you ever wear a fur coat or get dressed up for an evening out with a silk scarf? Maybe you had a suede or leather jacket. Perhaps you enjoy sewing and have worked with different fabrics. Touching fabrics can be a very comforting activity. The fabrics used in this activity may feel familiar and will be enjoyable to touch. This activity can aid in reminiscence conversations.

Written by Sophie Jopling and Sarah Mousley from Kent Occupational Therapy

The Activity

  1. Before the activity put the fabric squares into the cloth bag.
  2. Before the activity, make sure that you have a surface that the materials can be laid out on next to where the person is sitting.
  3. Hold/touch the person’s hand and say their name to introduce the activity.
  4. Support the person to feel the cloth bag. They can have the bag on their lap or on the table.
  5. Support the person to put their hand into the bag or gently guide their hand into the bag.
  6. Suggest to them to pull out a piece of fabric.
  7. Encourage them to stroke the fabric with their hand or on their cheek.
  8. Describe in simple words the feel of the fabric they have picked, for example ‘that feels soft/furry/silky' etc.
  9. Talk to the person about the colour and feel of the material. This may encourage reminiscence conversation. For example 'Did you know anyone who wore fur/silk? Did you wear particular fabrics for special occasions e.g. velvet? Were there more everyday fabrics like cotton or cord? Did you ever use old material for rags for car maintenance, home maintenance or decorating, patches for mending or did you ever make anything with old or leftover materials? e.g. rag dolls, pin cushions, lavender bags. Have you enjoyed sewing? What did you make?'
  10. Ask the person if they would like to pull out another piece of fabric and gently support them to do this.
  11. When all the pieces of fabric have been taken out of the bag, help the person to pair up the matching pieces. Or, if there are more than 2 of each type of fabric, put them into groups of matching pieces.
  12. When the activity is complete, ask ‘Would you like to help me put the fabric pieces back into the bag now?’