Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam
Invitation to Paint with Feet
Feet are often forgotten as a wonderful tool for painting as well as exploring the sense of touch. Our feet are just as sensitive as our hands and this invitation to paint allows the child the experience of learning, exploring, and feeling with their feet.
Bare feet are important to optimal nervous system and brain development. There are two other sensory systems that are rarely talked about —the proprioceptive system and the vestibular system. Proprioception gives us the ability to perceive the motion and position of our bodies in space, while the vestibular system is responsible for balance and coordination. The development of both of these senses relies heavily on sensory input we receive through bare feet, especially during infancy and childhood. When activated by pressure and movement, nerve endings in the feet called proprioceptors send signals to the brain telling it how the body is oriented. When a child is allowed to be barefoot, their tactile pathways feel the surface of the ground, proprioceptors respond to pressure, and the terrain creates slight imbalances that create neuromuscular strength, spacial orientation, balance, and coordination.
This invitation has multiple layers of sensory integration for little feet to explore. First I tapped cardboard on the cabinet, followed by different textures for the canvas (bubble wrap, foam wrap, and paper), and Lakeshore Learning Foam Sensory Paint. Placed my son on his back and simply squirted the Foam Paint on his feet and on the canvas and let him paint!