“Children need the FREEDOM to appreciate the infinite resources of their HANDS, their EYES, and their EARS, the resources of FORMS, MATERIALS, SOUNDS, and COLORS.”Loris Malaguzzi
Infants and toddlers explore the world through their senses. Sensory play lays a foundation for learning. A child explores the surroundings by trying to touch, grab, hold and even taste things to satisfy the natural curiosity. This instinct to feel and sense everything is how they train their body and brain to learn. So, instead of telling them “don’t touch” lets introduce some touch and feel books to let them utilize their senses and learn new skills in the process.
Sensory skills are built on what we see, hear, feel, smell and taste. These are basically the skills that receive information about our surroundings. These also include the sense of balance and awareness of how our body moves.
Developing the sensory skill in a child helps in cognitive and motor skill development. It helps the baby to understand and perceive the surroundings in a better way and gradually how to respond/reciprocate.
There are many ways to include sensory play in a baby’s routine. It could be giving different textured food items to squish, giving a squeezy toy, splashing water, playing with clay or running fingers through sand. But one of my favorites is giving the baby a touch and feel book. These books don’t just have attractive pictures, they also let the infant or toddler to experience numerous textures and are safe to play and explore independently.
I will be listing down some touch and feel books which we have personally enjoyed. I will also be writing some tips on how to make a DIY sensory book for babies in the below article.
Touch and feel books by Om books
Recommended Age: 0-3 Years ; Publisher: Om Books International ; Pages: 10
This cute animal picture book is a must have for babies. Every animal has a sensory spot and the babies will be delighted to experience the different textures.
The book has a “Did you know” with an interesting fact about each animal on the page. As the baby grows, this can be a great read aloud book, as it contains some text to associate with the animals on every page. This makes it a nice addition to the child book library, as it has great scope to develop child’s vocabulary. They will learn the names of animals, tell the words related to the feel of the touch and feel spot.
Overall, a great book to involve kids in sensory play as well as reading and learning with fun.
Recommended age: 0-3 years ; Publisher: Om Books International ; Pages: 10 pages
A sturdy board book to teach different colors to the child. This book attracted our attention due to the vibrant color pictures. The colors are bright and attractive. There is one touch and feel element per page flip.
Five colors are given yellow, blue, red, green and orange. Each page has 3-4 different objects in each color. The child will learn to identify and name each object in a short time. The shiny, smooth pages will attract the child’s attention and keep him/her busy. A good sensory book to give to your curious learner.
Touch and feel books by Ladybird
Recommended Age: 0-4 Years; Publisher: Penguin UK; Author: Ladybird; Pages: 12 pages
A delightful book with cute illustrations. A 12-page sturdy board book with an interesting design of animals peeking out of the pages on the side.
Each page introduces the child to the animals as to where they are found, in the wild, farm or home etc. The child can find out the names of animals as the page is flipped and feel the different textures on each animal, like a wooly sheep, soft wings of a butterfly, bumpy legs, squishy ears etc.
This book caught our attention due to the animal shaped tabs on the pages, making page-turning an interesting task for my kid. Enjoy a fluffy rabbit or admire a shiny elephant, this sensory book is sure to bring delight to a child.
There are similar Tab books; Baby Touch: Vehicles Tab Book, Baby Touch: Food, Baby Touch: Seasons by ladybird. You can also give that a try.
Recommended Age: 0-4 years; Publisher: Penguin UK; Author: Ladybird; Pages: 12 pages
The book caught our attention due to the different design which combines sensory as well as lift-the-flap feature in one book. A sturdy 12-page board book with 5 flaps.
The concept on each page is interesting, it talks about related animals/things that are found in the said place. Like what we will see in sky, sun, rainbow, bird and a hidden object behind a cloud. The book has some simple words to explain each picture making it more interactive as we can improvise on the given concept while reading to the baby.
The Peekaboo flaps, I felt, might be subject to wear and tear upon frequent use by little hands. Otherwise, a very well-designed book. Keeps the child interested and Peekaboo feature on each page is a joy for the kid. There is also a small mirror on the last page to keep the curious child busy. Overall, this book is full of fun sensory play activities.
Recommended Age: 0-4 years; Publisher: Penguin UK; Author: Ladybird; Pages: 12 pages
A very educative sensory book. A sturdy 12-page board book (including the cover pages).
This book was an instant hit due to the cute monkeys (with soft belly) on the book cover. Every page has cute illustrations of an animal on one side and the child has to identify the similar smaller animal(baby) on the adjacent page. A very good exercise to improve observation skill in the child.
The book has simple repetitive text. It is great fun to read the book with your kid. The sensory play elements added on every page will keep the child busy. The concept of parent and child (big and small) will keep the baby interested to flip pages. Also, helps the adult to engage kid in conversation.
Recommended Age: 0-3 years; Publisher: Ladybird
This is an amazing book for newborn to 2 years. The book opens up like a flower and can be made to stand on the floor so that the baby can crawl into the opened page of the book to explore.
It has very attractive pictures with touch and feel spots. We can make the book interactive by making up stories about the various objects on the pages. The baby would happily explore the book on their own. A colorful super fun sensory book to gift a newborn with lots of options to explore and cater to the curiosity of the baby.
Recommended Age: 0-3 years; Author: Eric Carle; Publisher: Penguin UK; Pages: 12 pages
This is our all-time favorite. The concept of the book is very interesting. The kids get to learn many things, like sounds, numbers, shapes from a single book. There is more than one texture in every page and all sensory spots are of premium quality. The squishy apple on the book cover will be an instant hit.
The illustrations are unique and attractive. The best thing I liked about this book is the numbers page, every number has a touch and feel border which the child can trace with fingers. The book has 4 basic shapes and also includes lift the flap feature revealing a mirror. A fun addition to entertain the curiosity of the child.
Every page has the signature caterpillar, pointing it out as the page flips is one thing which we enjoyed a lot. A great book which included multiple features along with the sensory book aspect. This book is a highly recommended addition to your child’s book collection.
DISNEY Baby: Winnie the Pooh Hello Little Friends Soft Book
This is a soft crinkly book my kid received as a gift. A very good sensory book with various elements like a teether, peek a boo flaps, a squeaker.
It is designed as a story where Pooh bear meets his friends, a smooth shell turtle, crinkly winged butterfly, an owl hidden behind a leaf flap. It also has a clip to attach the toy to a crib. A very delightful first touch and feel book which is a great book toy to keep your kid entertained.
DIY (Do-It-Yourself) sensory book:
Making a simple DIY book with sensory elements from the items available at home is quite easy. Little bit of creativity and imagination and we are all set. We can either stick the sensory elements on a sturdy cardboard or stitch the items on a soft quilted cloth.
Include items with different textures – velvety, coarse jute, fluffy cotton, hairy wool pom-poms, bumpy bubble wraps, mesh like the ones used to store fruits, soft feathers, smooth silk, squishy foam etc. Add in different sized buttons, shiny beads, googly eyes, small trinkets which jingle, smooth stones. For slightly older child we can add zips and Velcro. All these can be included in sensory books and sensory play activities.
Make the book as colorful as possible. Draw and paint colorful relevant pictures if using cardboard. We can cut shapes out of colorful cloth and sew them on a cloth book. Try creative ways like adding zig zag, straight lines, animal shapes or household objects.
Keep in mind that the stitch used is strong and the object is secured tightly. The glue used is non-toxic and the object doesn’t come loose from the sheet. Be sure to be around the child while he explores the sensory book, in case of small kids below 3 years who have a tendency to put objects in their mouth.
Found this amazing blog article on How to make sensory book for babies. Hope it will be helpful.
Sensory play is very essential in the early stage of a child’s life. It stimulates the senses and plays a vital role in the overall development of a child and how they learn about the things/people around them.
It helps the child realize the senses and learn to understand and respond to different experiences in day to day activities. A very essential part of brain development which is also related to speech, communication, motor skill and social behavior.
I found a very special article which speaks about How sensory activities promote speech and language development. Sensory toys and books are also used as a means to calm down, relax, engage and regulate senses during the treatment of kids with autism, along with their regular therapy.
This tells us that engaging kids in sensory play by any means like toys, simple household objects or touch and feel books, has multiple benefits in the overall development of a child. It also helps the parent or guardian of the child to understand if the child needs any special attention/help in any area of development of senses.
Apart from touch and feel books, we can introduce different kinds of Interactive picture books as the kids grow. Check out this article below which talks about Interactive books.
The list of sensory books available in market is huge. I have reviewed the few touch and feel books which we have enjoyed personally and are available for purchase easily. We always keep a look out for new and interesting books and will be adding in more book review and recommendations in future. Stay tuned.
What are touch and feel books?
Touch and feel books are books designed to stimulate the child’s senses. These are also known as sensory books. It helps the child realize the senses and learn to understand and respond to different experiences in day-to-day activities. A very essential part of brain development which is also related to speech, communication, motor skill and social behavior.
Why are sensory skills important?
Sensory skills can be defined as what we see, hear, feel, smell and taste. These are basically the skills that receive information about our surroundings. These also include the sense of balance and awareness of how our body moves. The development of these skills is important in kids as it helps them to understand and perceive the surroundings in a better way and gradually, they learn to respond/reciprocate.
Why are touch and feel books important to kids?
The natural instinct of a baby is to grab hold of things near them. They explore the world around them through senses. Hence, sensory play plays an important role in a child’s brain development. Touch and feel books provide the safe and fun way to cater to this natural curiosity and to channel it in a productive way by developing basic physical and mental skills.