Sensory Play by Gayle Jervis and Kristen Jervis Cacka

27 Feb 2016 by

Sensory Play is a very helpful resource for parents, caregivers, or early childhood educators seeking to integrate more sensory bins and input into their children’s lives.


This book provides sixty-eight sensory bin ideas split into four main categories:

  • color sensory bins,
  • season sensory bins,
  • celebration sensory bins, and
  • alphabetical or topical sensory bins.

Each topic (for example: yellow, snow, pumpkins, St. Patrick’s Day, Letter B: Birds) has an associated quote, a list of suggested books to read, information on contents of a thematic sensory bin (materials and manipulatives), a supplementary activity, related YouTube videos, and snack.


Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

The Gilt

This book is a treasure trove of inspiration. Like some of my favorite early childhood cooking books and homeschooling reference books, I am particularly grateful for the associated list of books to read. I sometimes think I suffer from book brain overload. I will be trying to come up with books to go with an activity and have to shuffle through a veritable Library of Congress-sized mental catalog. Thank goodness for Sensory Play for shortening that process. Flipping through the book, the book lists of five topics were 7, 4, 6, 8, and 7 items long. While not very scientific, that at least gives you an idea of the usefulness of this particular aspect of the book.

I appreciate that there is an alphabetical bin idea for every letter and fourteen different color ideas. Sometimes these, too, suffer from information overload due to a plethora of Pinterest ideas for sensory bins. It’s much easier for me to just stick with one thing and not have to make a choice (isn’t that terrible?). I’m also looking forward to taking the snack ideas and turning them into healthier options for the CACFP that I use in my child care program.

The Gutter

It’s very clear that the authors are coming from a Christianity world view. While I didn’t check every associated book for its contents, in reviewing the titles and the sensory bin topics, I noticed that holidays (as an example) did not have religious breadth. I’ll let you make your own conclusions with the list of celebrations: Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Canada Day or Independence Day, Birthdays, Back to School, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Thanksgiving (USA), Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day, Decorating for Christmas, and Nativity. YouTube video links include references to God.


You can easily find a hundreds of ideas for sensory bins through a simple Internet search, but by coupling supplementary activity information with sensory bin ideas, the authors have created a very helpful resource. It cuts down on the research time needed for early childcare providers or parents, which is important in today’s busy society. The negative is that it is missing religious and cultural breadth.



Sensory Play
by Gayle Jervis and Kristen Jervis Cacka

Publisher: CreateSpace
Published October 5, 2013 Pages: 270
Review Source: purchased from Amazon Review Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781492876441 Finished on February 27, 2016

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