By January 18, 2023 Read More →

KidsView: Sensory Story Time Hosted by “Sensory Dough By Kelsie” & “Breathing Through”

KidsView: Sensory Story Time Hosted by “Sensory Dough By Kelsie” & “Breathing Through”
By Brandilyn Mitchell

I recently attended the monthly Sensory Story Time for Tots Sponsored by Stanislaus First 5, held at the John B. Allard Middle School, 3113 Mitchell Ave in Ceres. Kelsie van Rys and Veronica Tovar co-lead this story time together, where they read an interactive story, where participants sing, dance, shout and engage in sensory play that is all part of the monthly theme. It is a truly fun way to engage your senses through movement and play and connect with your Little in our often busy and hectic schedules. ModestoView highly recommends you take this hour out of your month to make memories you will cherish.

December’s theme was Eric Carle’s book “Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?”.  Participants made the animal sounds from the book and played a guessing game of animal sounds. Storytime was followed by introducing fun musical instruments and letting kids make noise and wiggle or dance around the room! After the story, everyone made their own little polar bears with shimmery peppermint-scented sensory dough.

January’s theme was “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Walsh. They mixed the dough of the primary colors together to make secondary colors, just like the mice do in the book. They sang a song with bells, did some yoga, and danced! 

Other themes were “Giraffe’s Can’t Dance”, “Swimmy”, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “The Three Little Fish and The Big Bad Shark.” Sensory play ranges from creating things with dough, to water play, to sand play and almost always involves things that smell really good, too!

Each child is allowed one parent to attend with them so that you are spending one-on-one time doing something fun with your child. You must call Danyel Davis at 209-238-6725 to RSVP for this free event. If you do not RSVP, there won’t be any supplies for your kiddo. (And another cool part? You get to take the supplies home to recreate the joy at home and build lasting memories!) Most months end up with a wait list, so please don’t RSVP unless you will attend.

Why is this monthly event so fun for both parents and kiddos? Kelsie has 12 years of experience as a preschool teacher, and Veronica is a licensed registered social worker with her own practice, Breathing Through Counseling and Wellness Services. Veronica is also a yoga teacher! Their combined expertise blends beautifully when planning different themes and activities. “We pick books we like, with a moving aspect to them, and a theme we can easily incorporate noise and sound into. We love ‘Brown Bear’, ‘Mouse Paint’, ‘Little Blue Little Yellow’, and books like that,” said Kelsie. “We want books that have a learning aspect, and we aim to teach social-emotional learning as well-that is why we have parents to attend with their kids, so they can connect with each other,” said Veronica.

MV: How did Sensory Story Time come to be?
VT: We met at a pop-up event at Bloomingcamp Ranch. I sought Kelsie out and told her of my idea about an active story time.
KV: At the time I was doing ‘Take & Make’ events, but I really wanted to do more.
VT: Yeah, we both wanted to add movement and social-emotional aspects somehow to what we were doing, because we both really want kids to connect with their parents.
KV: We LOVE watching kids connect with their bodies, and learn and grow, but we also really love watching them connect with their parents. We wanted to provide a time for parents and children to just show up without any expectations, be comfortable, and just have fun with each other. We want them to be exactly who they are-they can run around and be silly, as long as they are having fun.

MV: How long has PACE been hosting this story time? And are there others that families can attend?
KV: Wow, it’s been a year now. February 2022. We are working on expanding; it was so awesome to find this space but we have outgrown it.
VT: We used to have one at my office, but we outgrew it, too!
MV: That’s a good problem to have!
KV: We’re excited to see how we grow this year.

They are both truly passionate about sensory play. Sensory play is any play that engages the senses; and the more senses that are engaged, the more learning takes place. The sensory dough is a dynamic tool to incorporate many areas of learning with open-ended play. Kids LOVE using their imaginations, and the dough is a fantastic way to explore their imaginations. Why is sensory play important? It encourages scientific thinking and problem-solving by observing, formatting hypotheses, experimenting, and then making conclusions. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve pathways in the brain, which leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks. When you talk about what they are doing and making, create a story to go with it, and then you’re teaching language and literacy. When they create objects with dough or just smell, squish and roll it they are developing fine motor skills which is necessary to do other things like get shoes on, and things they will do later like writing and cooking. When you ask questions like, “How much do you have? Can you divide it into smaller pieces? What happens when you squish it all back together?”, you are teaching them math concepts.

And why is attending events like sensory story time with a caregiver so important? This hour is designed to create opportunities for the caregiver and child to connect and create moments of healthy attachment.  The workshop focuses on the child’s senses to foster social-emotional development, the ability to self-regulate, and create awareness of their bodies and surroundings. Connecting with your child makes them feel safe, heard, and valued, which only deepens their relationship with you.   

We hope to see you at a Sensory Story Time soon!

Sensory Dough by Kelsie
To find her events listings and tips on using sensory dough follow her social media!
Insta: @sensorydoughbykelsie

Breathing Through Counseling & Wellness Services (Be sure to check out the blog-there’s great stuff in there!)
1604 Ford Ave Suite 3, Modesto, CA 95350
Her social media has great information on social/emotional challenges and mental health, so check her out!
Facebook: breathingthroughcounselingandwellnessservices

About the Author:

Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale. Loves to roast marshmallows over a fire.