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Books for Sensory Learning and Play

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Children are experiential learners who retain knowledge best when they use multiple senses in the learning process. In this list of resources, early childhood educators will discover how to fully engage young minds through immersive sensory experiences, activities, and environments. Early educators will also find resources to help identify children with sensory processing challenges, as well as useful strategies to support these children that can be easily incorporated into classroom routines. 



The Homegrown Preschooler

Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live

This book provides all you need to provide the best sensory learning experiences for children at home from organizational tips, recipes, and more than 200 easy-to-pull-together activities. This book will give parents and caregivers the confidence to transform the home into a captivating learning environment that rivals the best preschool classroom!

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Sand and Water Play

Simple, Creative Activities for Young Children

Designed for children ages three to six, Sand and Water Play introduces fun materials like aquarium rocks, bird seed, mud, rock salt, and more to engage children's minds and hands for powerful sensory learning experiences.  

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Wired Differently

A Teacher’s Guide to Understanding Sensory Processing Challenges

The new sights, routines, and experiences of preschool can be exhilarating, but what about children who struggle? Wired Differently will help teachers differentiate between everyday challenging behaviors, and those that could signify something more. This book explains what sensory processing disorder (SPD) is and helps teacher include sensory processing strategies as part of a typical classroom routine. 

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Sensory Integration

A Guide for Preschool Teachers

Sensory Integration helps you identify children who have difficulties with sensory processing, and it offers simple, easy-to-use solutions to support the sensory needs of young children in the preschool classroom.

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First Art for Toddlers and Twos

Open-Ended Art Experiences

Discover the natural curiosity and enthusiasm of toddlers and twos as they explore creative, sensory process-art experiences designed just for them!

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Thrifty Teacher’s Guide to Creative Learning Centers

This book vividly describes the unique ways teachers can use found and recyclable materials to encourage cognitive development, sensory experiences, and creative exploration in young children.

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Enticing Environments for People Under Three

Colors, sounds, smells, and the placement of furniture, lighting, and textures all influence how play an important role in how babies, toddlers, and two-year-olds experience learning. Chock-full of colorful photographs from real-world infant and toddler settings, this book offers fresh ideas for making centers and classrooms inspiring for all of the people who inhabit them.

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Treasure Basket Explorations

Heuristic Learning for Infants and Toddlers

Treasure Basket Explorations explains heuristic learning—discovery by trial and error—and how to encourage this type of learning to boost development in infants and toddlers. In this book, teachers will learn how to set up treasure baskets: containers filled with easy-to-find items that support explorations in emergent language, math, and science skills. 

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Seasons of Play

Natural Environments of Wonder

Seasons of Play promotes play among natural elements that engages all of the senses. Using the author’s own photos of real child care centers, this book illustrates how to design natural play environments that encourage exploration and creativity in all seasons of the year. 

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Exploring the Science of Sounds

100 Musical Activities for Young Children

In this book, discover 100 activities that let children ages 3–6 explore the science of music and sound by engaging the senses. Children will use their bodies to create sounds, explore the relationship between size and pitch, investigate how tempo affects the way we listen to sounds, create musical instruments, and much more. 

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Integrating Inquiry into Learning Centers

Most early childhood teachers are using learning centers in the classroom, but do not approach them in ways that fully support a variety of learning opportunities. This book approaches learning centers through the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) lens, and shares how themes can be integrated into centers to promote creativity, engage the senses, and facilitate higher-level thinking. 

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The GIANT Encyclopedia of Learning Center Activities for Children 3 to 6

Over 600 Activities Created by Teachers for Teachers

Through play and use of the senses, young children learn to communicate, interact, and expand their cognitive thinking horizons. This book contains hundreds of accessible, teacher-written learning center activities to with opportunities for each child to work at their own developmental level. 

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Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning

In Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning, you will find activities that inspire curiosity, exploration, and creativity while engaging all of children's senses in the learning process. 

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