Exploring Books through Play

Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy

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This digital download contains 50 hands-on, multi-sensory play-centered activities for anyone helping kids learn about friendship, acceptance, empathy, compassion, and differences in others. In this social emotional skills resource, you’ll find therapist-approved resources, activities, crafts, projects, and play ideas based on 10 popular children’s books. Each book covered contains activities designed to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory exploration, handwriting, and more. Help kids understand complex topics of social/emotional skills, empathy, compassion, and friendship through books and hands-on play.


Using children’s books to drive therapy sessions or play activities is a fun way to make books interactive while diving into abstract concepts AND building specific skills!

Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy is filled with hands-on activities rooted in interactive, hands-on, sensory play that focus on creating a well-rounded early childhood education supporting growth in literacy, mathematics, science, emotional and social development, artistic expression, sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills. Kids can explore books while building specific skills in therapy sessions, as part of home programs, or in the home.

Creative book activities that help kids develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills, while exploring books.

Develop social and emotional skills

As classroom curriculum becomes more focused on academics, social and emotional development can get lost in the shuffle. This book focuses on abstract concepts of friendship, acceptance and empathy. By using children’s books that foster understanding of these concepts through pictures and stories, we can help children understand and see these emotions in action. What if you could use books and interactive activities to teach friendship? What if you could read a book that centers on accepting differences and create or make an activity or craft that helps children see acceptance in action. What if you could explore emotions through story and interactive play? In this book, you will find books that cover abstract concepts and use play to build social and developmental skills.  The 10 books covered include:

  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
  • Boy + Bot
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story
  • Chrysanthemum
  • The Day the Crayons Quit
  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
  • Whoever You Are and Penguin and Pinecone

Exploring books through play and teach kids empathy, friendship, and compassion with fun play activities.

sensory exploration, gross motor development and fine motor skills

By using interactive play experiences, this book guides you through activities for each children’s book. The activities were designed to build fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory exploration, and much more. By adding movement and fine motor activities, or multi-media sensory-based play and craft ideas, children can build motor experiences and develop skills through activities based on the concepts of each children’s book.


The book can be used in several different ways: Work specifically on fine motor skills by completing each fine motor activity and covering all 10 children’s books. Or, offer a gross motor theme by using each of the 10 book’s gross motor activity. Or, encourage sensory play by using each book’s sensory activity. Or, create centers or weekly themes for each book covering a variety of skills. This book can be used to build skills in so many ways!

Exploring books through play is a guide to using children's books in therapy and while building developmental skills.

Teach empathy, compassion, and differences

Want to help kids learn more about complex concepts such emotions, empathy, compassion, and differences?

Exploring Books Through Play uses children’s literature as a theme to engage in fun, hands-on activities that help children and adults delve deeper into the characters and lessons, bringing the stories to life and falling further in love with literature. Read a story and then bring the characters to life while learning and building skills. Each story offers unique activities designed around central themes of friendship, empathy, and compassion.


Each chapter includes 5 activities for each of the 10 children’s books. The activities are perfect for children ages 3-8, can be used in small groups or as a whole class, and are easily adapted to a home or classroom setting.

If you want a book that will excite children about learning through play (and building developmental skills) then this guide is for you.