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Rough and Smooth Boards

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Four rectangular boards:

Board A is divided into two equal squares, one square is polished wood and the other is rough sandpaper.
Board B is divided into ten narrow sections, alternating between smooth and rough.
Board C is five sections of sandpaper in gradation of roughness, from very rough to nearly smooth. (Starting with the same grade of sandpaper used in the previous boards.)
Board D is five sections of sandpaper in gradation of smoothness, from very smooth to nearly rough.

Finger sensitizing tray:

A tray with a small bowl of warm water and a small towel for drying one’s fingers.


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. Get boards A and B and place board B facing down. 
  2. Show the child the sensitizing tray. Ask the child to fill the bowls up with water from the warm water source.  
  3. Show the child how to dip your dominant fingertips in the bowl, soaking them just enough. Invite the child to do the same. 
  4. Proceed by drying your finger tips on the provided towel by repeatedly rubbing your finger tips on it, starting from the top of the towel, dragging down, then pick your fingers up and start at the top and drag down. 
  5. Once your fingers are dried and now more sensitive, ask the child to pour the water out, set the towels to dry, replace the towels with new ones, and set the tray back on the shelf.  
  6. Now, sitting with the child at the table, show child board A.
  7. Feel the board’s smooth side first in the same way you used the towel starting from the top, dragging down, picking your fingers up and going to the top again to drag down.
  8. Repeat this for the rough side. 
  9. Invite the child to feel, introduce the word “smooth” when he feels the smooth side and the word “rough” when he feels the “rough” side. 
  10. Once the child is done with board A, flip board B over.  
  11. Using two fingers on your dominant hand, trace the narrow rectangles one at a time, from the top to bottom, starting with the smooth rectangle on the left. Repeat this process until you trace all the rectangles. 
  12. Invite the child to perform the exercise.


Exercise 1, Boards A and B

The child performs the exercise as presented.

Exercise 2, Boards C and D
  1. On another day, show the child the boards C and D. Have board D facing down.  
  2. Repeat the same process with the sensitizing tray.  
  3. Sitting at the table with the child, show the child board C. With your fingers on your dominant hand, start at the top of the rough rectangle and drag down.
  4. Repeat this with all the rectangles in between, and finish with the nearly smooth rectangle. Invite the child to try. 
  5. Once the child is done, flip over board D.
  6. Start with the very smooth rectangle, and finish with the nearly rough rectangle.
  7. Repeat the same steps as you did for Board C.
  8. Invite the child to perform the exercise.


For boards A and B we say rough and smooth.
For boards C and D, we don’t have language as we will use that language in another exercise with a different material. 

Direct Purpose

Refine sensitivity of touch, lightness of touch.

Indirect Purpose

Preparation for writing.


3 1/2 to 4


Be consistent with which side you start with. i.e. if you start with the smooth section of Board A, start with the smooth section of Board B.

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