It can be hard to find sensory-related books geared toward young children. I’ve compiled a list of some of the best sensory children’s books for preschool. These books explain or teach about sensory differences/needs in a simple manner. I hope you like them as much as I do!
Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes
I love this brand new book published in 2021! It tells the story of a little girl who needs to move, hum and sway throughout her day. The story talks about how her body feels and how she doesn’t know why she needs to move so much. She says “I can’t explain why”. It also talks about a variety of different sensory experiences she encounters, such as eating mushy food, putting on pants, and sand sticking to her hands. When she can’t get the sand off her hands, it leads to distress. She hums, cries, and eventually has a meltdown. The child’s perspective during this episode so clearly illustrates how her sensory differences led to stress and overwhelm. I also love that the author shows how the child gets through the meltdown and the thoughts that go through her head.
The author, Lindsey Rowe Parker says, “My favorite theme of this book is that the child is accepted and
understood. She is not asked to change, she is supported, she is allowed to be herself, she is loved.” I agree with Lindsey 100%! This is one of the beautiful aspects of this book. This book also has a free reading guide and activity book that you can download from the Wiggle, Stomps, and Squeezes website. This is one of the best sensory children’s books for preschool that I have read in a long time!
This book is so simple and easy to understand. It’s perfect for the preschool and early elementary levels! It describes how wearing headphones can help when sounds get too loud. I love the lines “When it’s really noisy, I put them on my head. They give my ears a hug and make it quiet here instead.” The story also gives examples of where headphones can be worn. Another beautiful aspect of this book is that the illustrations represent a variety of skin colors, which is a plus. If you need a way to introduce the concept of headphones to your autistic child/student or to a child with a sensory disorder, this is the book for you!
Breathe Like A Bear
Sweet, simple, and beautiful. That’s how I would describe this little book that teaches deep breathing to young children. In the story, a bear goes and finds a cozy cave. It also encourages children to do the same. Then, the bear and other animals take slow deep breaths in and blow the breaths out slowly. The illustrations are beautiful and soothing. I also really like that this is available as a board book.
Arnie And His School Tools
Arnie And His School Tools is a children’s book that has been around for a while but continues to provide valuable information about sensory tools. The story is about a little boy named Arnie, who had a hard time at school. He is described as a “mover” who has a hard time sitting still on the carpet. His hearing is also very sensitive and he was distracted by what he can hear in the classroom next door. One by one, the story introduces sensory “school tools” that help him regulate his body in order to relax and concentrate better. One thing I like about this story is how his teacher works in some movement breaks for the whole class when she sees Arnie needs them. That way, it is not always having him adjust to the “norm”, but also the class making adjustments to meet his needs!
A Boy And A Bear
A Boy And A Bear is another children’s book that has been around for over two decades. However, it may be even more relevant now than it was back in 1996. It is a story of a boy and a bear who climb up a mountain, lie down and take deep breaths that fill their tummies. The breaths are counted in, 1, 2, 3, 4, and out 1, 2, 3, 4. They feel the warm sunlight on their bodies. This is one of the best sensory children’s books for preschool when it comes to teaching progressive relaxation techniques. The sentences are short and sweet, which makes it preschool-friendly.
Self-Regulation Activities For Preschool
The books above are great introductions to sensory-related terms and strategies. But, they are not the solution to meeting the sensory needs of young autistic children. Be sure to discuss each individual student with the IEP team, and brainstorm with the occupational therapist to come up with a plan for each child. This Preschool Self Regulation Activities resource is a great place to start if you want to implement visual supports to teach self-regulation. Be sure to read the following blog posts to learn ways to better support your child or student with autism:
- Self-Regulation Of Emotions In Autism: 5 Ways To Help!
- Self-Regulation And Emotions: 3 Easy Was To Support Autistic Children
- Wearing Headphones Social Story
- How To Calm My Body Social Story
Self-Regulation and emotions resources from Autism Little Learners:
- Self-Regulation Activities For Little Learners
- Feelings & Emotions Vocabulary Cards
- Identifying Animated Emotions Boom Cards™
- Halloween Feelings – Matching & Flashcards
- Winter Emotions Playdough Mats
Sensory Book List:
If you haven’t grabbed up my FREE “Ultimate Guide For Targeting Language Skills In Young Children With Autism”, sign up to receive it now! This jam-packed guide will help you identify where to start with your student or child’s language skills!
Also, the new Visual Supports Starter Set is also free. Just follow the link, sign up, and it will be emailed to you!