8 Helpful Books For Developing Sensory Skills In Toddlers And Pre-schoolers

Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Editorial Team

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Books could be a source of comfort, and for some babies, their favourite toys. Listening to a book has a calming effect which you could use when they are upset. It is useful for educators and parents who would like to inject more sensory play into their children’s day.

Our senses help us survive and after they assure us that we are safe, their secondary function is to make us more active and social. They do this by organising the information they collect during sensory processing. Through sensory books, children can experience the world they otherwise may not explore.

Getting babies familiar with books is an efficient way to build pre-literacy skills in them. It lays the groundwork for higher skills. Let’s find out what are sensory books.

What are sensory books?

Sensory books are books that involve multiple sensory elements to tell a story. It may include pictures, words, textures, sounds and sometimes even smell. They are interactive and engaging. Involving multiple senses in reading boosts the interest in kids and excites them for reading in general. Since young children use all their senses to explore the world around them, sensory books allow them to engage with reading in a whole different way compared to traditional books. Sensory books promote overall learning and development. They are among the few tools we have that could translate abstract thoughts into tangible information.

Sensory books include interactive activities such as touching the cloth or tying a knot or polishing the mirror or smelling the flower. Babies with additional needs or learning disabilities may truly benefit from sensory books as they may act as a wonderful resource to stimulate their senses Let’s go through some of our favourite sensory books for toddlers.

Sensory books for toddlers and preschoolers

1. Baby Touch and Feel: Animals by DK

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals by DK

There is a whole category of books called Baby Touch and Feel. We love all of them, especially this one with animals where you could pet the furry belly of a penguin or the soft tummy of a puppy. Each page has a different animal along with its natural sound. Pages also include a short text describing the animals. It may be a great prop to act out the animals for parents and educators. That said, the book is filled with tactile elements that may encourage your kids to explore and touch the textures. This is the type of book that makes reading both fun and educational.

2. TouchThinkLearn: Colors by Xavier Deneux

TouchThinkLearn: Colors by Xavier Deneux

The New York Times review of the book concluded that this book is a tactile and visual elegance that appeals both to the eyes and hands. TouchThinkLearn also has a whole series of books addressing useful topics ranging from colours to numbers. The book’s format is unique and includes scooped out cuts with raised elements which could help kids explore the world of colours in a multisensory way. It guides kids to trace the shape and its image so they could understand essential concepts in a fun manner. For eg, one of the pages includes a raised leaf’s surface with a caterpillar munching on the leaf’s edge.

3. Where’s the Penguin? by Nosy Crow

Where’s the Penguin? by Nosy Crow

A book like Where’s the Penguin gives early learning a whole new dimension. This book is bold. It’s tactile. And it’s graphic. It has a beautifully illustrated spread that shows a set of friendly animals disguising themselves behind bright folding flaps. It also includes a mirror in its final spread that acts as a tool to search and find enquiries between other spreads. Kids could also play peekaboo by pulling down the flaps themselves. And you don’t need to worry about the pages. They are sturdy. They could withstand rough treatment.

4. The Ocean: Touch and Exploreby Nathalie Choux

The Ocean: Touch and Exploreby Nathalie Choux

The Ocean by Touch and Explore series is a multisensory journey for kids that has flippers, scales, tales and fins. Everything that your kid might need to dive into the ocean. The entire series encourages a hands-on-engagement. They are brilliantly crafted and provide a rich learning experience. As you move along, the book allows you to try bumpy barnacles, sandpapery skin and shiny scales. There is even a spread for clownfish. The text informs you on which ocean animal can change colour or squirt ink. This sturdy book is just the right fit for small children.

5. Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet

Mix It Up is a friendly book that invites toddlers to an adventure filled with magic and wonder. The book is not just colourful. It is mixed with the splatter that appears and reappears. Through this book, toddlers and preschoolers may get a deeper understanding of the colours. And who else is a better teacher than Eric Carle, the master of his craft? This book is a marvellous journey filled with giggles, colours and interactive motions. The format encourages parents and children to cherish the reading experience again and again. Mix It Up is an invaluable teaching tool for parents and educators.

6. Press Here, by Hervé Tullet

Press Here, by Hervé Tullet

Press Here is another classic interactive book by Hervé Tullet that stands out as a magical journey for kids. Every page of this book encourages the reader to follow instructions such as tilt the book, shake it up or our favourite, press the button, without knowing what would happen next. The actions make the pages transform into sensory delights. The dots multiply. They change directions. They grow in size. You will be surprised to see how a flat printed page could take you out on such a vivid sensory experience. This classic is a perfect bedtime book for toddlers and preschoolers.

7. Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti by Rosie Greening

Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti by Rosie Greening

This funny rhyming classic teaches children why they should never feed a Yeti spaghetti, seemingly an important lesson for all ages. Each spread on this durable book has a giant open mouth with poking teeth that children could reach out to and imitate the act of feeding. Out of all, the best feature of this book is still the rhyming text that develops the early love for reading. It’s rare to find such a gem among the sensory books that has such a unique concept and format.

8. Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

This book invites children to reach through the pages to catch differently shaped and sized tales of animals. Since children can’t resist catching tales, the format works wonderfully in this sturdy touch-and-feel board book. Animals ranging from tigers to pangolins pop up with their tales and invite the readers to lift flaps, scratch tails and pull tabs. As you move along the book, you could teach children so many things from counting to opposites of different objects. This book is filled with sensory tail-wagging activities.


In an ideal world, all toddlers love books and grow into kids who love reading. At least it would make their time at school more convenient and fun.

Adding books filled with interactive experiences to your kid’s bookshelf could promote overall development. Reading to our kids and exposing them to diverse and sensory-stimulating books could lay the groundwork for their higher learning. Sensory books at the time of infancy are how we build our familiarity with books.

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