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Sensory Play with Happy Love Sprinkles

OUR INSPIRATION

In our journey to spread happiness, we wrote Happy Love Sprinkles, an award-winning children’s book about self-discovery and friendship. As teachers, we were then were inspired to create a 40+ page activity book including hands-on activities, social-emotional learning resources, and literacy printables that accompany our book. Naturally, we couldn’t stop there. We love the idea of sensory play and understand the importance of hands-on learning, so we have thoughtfully curated some sensory play activities for you and your littles.

WHAT IS SENSORY PLAY & WHY IS IT EFFECTIVE?

Sensory bins allow for multi-sensory learning that facilitates self-discovery, encouraging children to explore, create, and investigate. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, problem solving skills, and fine and gross motor skills, in unique and versatile ways that have the flexibility to meet a range of learning needs and appeal to multiple learning styles. We like to use sensory play to enhance and accompany a children’s book, to explore non-fiction books or scientific concepts, or to accompany a thematic unit. When a child is participating in sensory play, they are also working on independent play, imaginative play, math skills, tactile learning, developing self regulation, and building social and emotional skills. A well-curated activity will naturally spark interest and curiosity among children, making learning fun, memorable, and meaningful, while keeping them engaged and focused throughout the learning experience.

WHAT MAKES OUR SENSORY ACTIVITIES UNIQUE?

Each activity is based on the Happy Love Sprinkles children’s book and can be combined with our own teacher-created printable resources found in the Happy Love Sprinkles Activity Pack. The two can be purchased together as a BUNDLE for a discounted price. 

Something unique that we have done is that we have cut out scenes from the book and used them to create a background for each sensory bin. Likewise, we cut out the characters as well. We loved that this made the activity specific to the selected piece of literature and thought that it would allow children to easily role play with the characters and use their imaginations more vividly to feel as though they are truly part of the story.

LET’S GET STARTED:

Creating meaningful activities can be time consuming and require a lot of planning. We hope that the activities we’ve created will inspire you and take a lot of the guesswork out of it, so you can enjoy more time having fun and engaging with your little ones. Let’s take a look at each of the four character-themed sensory play activities that we’ve created just for you!

As we like to say, Let the magic begin . . .

 

ACTIVITY #1 - SENSORY PLAY WITH SPROUT

This may me one of our favorites! Sprout is a small plant in a forest of towering trees, who yearns to be big and learns to stand tall.

Within this sensory tray (from Wooden Toys For You), you will find a combination of lentils and green aquarium gravel as the filler, along with seeds to be planted, wood stamps and cut-outs, letters to spell out related vocabulary words, and wooden tools to dig and explore with.

 

Skills:

  • Children will engage in the tactile experience as they dig to plant seeds, or dig to uncover seeds.

  • Matching and pairing wooden leaf cut-outs

  • Focus on building sight word vocabulary using the wooden letters (ie: Sprout, plant,

    tree, seeds).

  • Stamping leaf-shaped patterns in Play-doh

  • Use of wooden tools and tweezers to extract small pieces


    Hands-on Activity Extensions:

    In our Downloadable Activity Pack, you can find additional activities related to the character, Sprout, that lend themselves very well to this sensory play and extend the learning process.

    Be sure to check out...

    #1: Spreading Seeds of Love

    This is an activity in which children will plant seeds, care for their plants, and then monitor growth and progress over time.

    #2: Planting Seeds, Planting Dreams

    With this writing prompt printable, children will plant metaphorical “seeds” and plant their dreams and think about what they will need to do to reach their goals.

     

    ACTIVITY #2 - SENSORY PLAY WITH CAKES

    Cakes is a fluffy raccoon that enjoys his sweets (more than he should). He learns to not place emphasis on physical appearances and discovers self-love. In this sensory activity you will enter Cake’s Kitchen and feel as though you are right in the scene from the story in which Cakes is surrounded by towering treats. This sensory bin includes cupcake stickers that are hidden beneath pink colored rice as the filler from Little Hands and Co. We also added gold sprinkles to the mix because... well, why not! What we love the most about this activity is hiding and submerging the cupcakes and allowing children to brush off (think like a paleontologist) and uncover each buried object. So much fun!  

     

    Skills:

    • Children will brush and dig to uncover each hidden cupcake
    • Once found, learners will match each pair of cupcakes
    • Focus on building sight word vocabulary using wooden letters (ie: Cakes, sweets, treats)
    • Practice with measurements (using measuring cups and measuring spoons)
    • Mixing, stirring, whisking, using rolling pin

     

      Hands-on Activity Extensions:

      In our Downloadable Activity Pack, you can find additional activities related to the character, Cakes, that lend themselves very well to this sensory play and extend the learning process.

      Be sure to check out...

      #1: Baking with Cakes

      Children will follow their favorite cupcake recipe and bake some delicious desserts, creating a special name for their cupcake recipe, listing/drawing the ingredients, directions, and lastly rating their cupcake and giving it an official review!

      #2: Cupcake Creations

      In this activity, children will decorate their cupcakes, listing what they used to embellish their tasty treat, draw a picture of their creation, and describe how their cupcake tastes.

       

      ACTIVITY #3- SENSORY PLAY WITH PEEP

      Peep is a little song bird that can’t sing, but learns to find her voice. She then brings beautiful melodies to the meadow. In the meadow you will find beautiful wildflowers, Peep’s Place (a wooden bird house), and a bird seed filler.

      Feel free to paint your wooden birdhouse and/or hang it outside. When you are finished with this sensory bin, don’t forget to use the leftover bird seed to fill a bowl or feeder to feed your backyard feathered friends.

       

      Skills:

      • Children will practice counting wooden birds as they uncover them from the bird seed filler.

      • Practice creating sequences and patterns with the wood shapes (For example: alternate bird, flower, bird, flower.... and then ask your child what would come next following that pattern. This can be done with using a variety of shapes and following different sequences).

      • Matching and pairing wooden flower cut-outs

      • Focus on building sight word vocabulary (ie: Peep, bird, sing, flower).

      • Stamping flower shaped patterns in Play-doh

      • Use of wooden tools and tweezers to extract small pieces


        Hands-on Activity Extensions:

        In our Downloadable Activity Pack, you can find additional activities related to the character, Peep, that lend themselves very well to this sensory play and extend the learning process.

        Be sure to check out...

        #1: Backyard Bird Watching With Peep

        This is an activity in which children will spend time outdoors birdwatching, feeding their feathered friends, listening to each bird’s melody, observing, and recording a bird count.

        #2: Find Your Voice

        With this writing prompt printable, children will use their voice to share a positive message to the world.

         

        ACTIVITY #4 - SENSORY PLAY WITH CRITTER

        Critter is a lonely, little fox wishing for some friends. Instead he is visited by a moon fairy who delivers a mysterious jar of Happy Love Sprinkles. When he opens the cork, the colorful sprinkles take flight, leading him on an adventure through the forest.

        Don’t you want to dive right into these bright and beautiful rainbow colored corn kernels from Chickadees Wooden Toys? Children will love unstructured, open play as they scoop and dig for colorful sprinkles and fill various sized jars.

        If you are looking for some structured learning and more of an educational experience, we focused on practicing identification of colors and classifying kernels by their color. Children can individually pick out each color with their hands and place it in the appropriate dish. If you are looking for more of a challenge, try picking up each colored kernel using the wooden tweezers. (This is much more difficult!) This activity also allows for math skills such as counting and/or creating a colored bar graph.

         

        Skills:

        • Identifying the name of the colors used in the tray

        • Classification by sorting and separating each color

        • Focus on building sight word vocabulary using wooden letters (ie: color, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)

        • Practice separating kernels either by hand or with the use of wooden utensils

        • Filling various sized sprinkle jars

        • Math skills: counting and/or graphing


          Hands-on Activity Extensions:

          In our Downloadable Activity Pack, you can find additional activities related to the character, Critter, that lend themselves very well to this sensory play and extend the learning process.

          Be sure to check out...

          #1: Creating Your Own Sprinkle Jar

          We should also add that there is a special activity on the last page of the Happy Love Sprinkles children’s book, inviting readers to make their very own magical sprinkle jar with a special recipe! Included in the activity pack, you can find printable tags to attach to your sprinkle jar.

          #2: What is in YOUR Sprinkle Jar?

          On this printable, little learners will draw/write down inside of their jars positive thoughts, kind words, things that make them smile, and all of the things that they love.

          HOW CAN YOU USE THESE ACTIVITIES?

          Here are some ideas:
          - Play at home (indoor or outdoor set up)
          - Host a “Play Party,” play date, birthday party, or sleep over - Learning centers or rotating stations in the classroom
          - Camps, after school programs, child care

           

          The possibilities and fun are endless!

          We welcome your feedback and photos if you have tried any of these sensory play activities. Kindly send to info@happylovesprinkles.com.

           

          Maria and Kim

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