Sensory Friendly Story Times

3 Sep

I think I’ve finally got my toddler story time plans finished and my yoga plans as well, now it’s on to planning for the sensory friendly storytimes, both here at the library as well as the outreach classrooms.  As part of grant for the county, we offered 6 sensory friendly story times in the winter/spring.  We had fairly low attendance, but I’m hoping for a larger crowd as more people realize that we offer a program like this.

As I said, I also outreach to 8 classrooms of young children with disabilities.  Each classroom focuses on a specific disability, but when I visit, I often see two classrooms at a time making for a wide array of disabilities to address.  These are some of my favorite storytimes, because even though the children can be easily distracted or look as though they may be ignoring the program, I feel as though I can bring something new and different to these programs.  Many of the kids love using the iPad, a great tool for fine motor skills, others love the songs, or movement aspects, and still others love to interact through the story.  Although, I do create these story times to be specifically for children with disabilities, they are not very different from other story times I plan.

Take a look at some of my sensory friendly storytime plans here (colors), and here (snakes), and here (farm), and finally here (sing-a-long books).

At the end of the day, I always remind myself that these are kids and they want to have fun.  Are some kids sensitive to loud music?  Yes, but not all.  Are some kids non-verbal of have difficulty with motor skills?  Yes, but not all.  Would some kids rather be running around the room or talking non-stop?  Yes, but not all.  Do kids like to have fun?  Yes.  So, if you’re nervous about offering a sensory friendly story time option at your library, just remember kids just want to have fun and what we do in storytime is valuable to a child’s early literacy education regardless of whether or not they might have a disability.  You might have to be prepared to be a little more flexible, but it is definitely worth it.  Believe me.

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