If you are a primary teacher or parent of a primary aged child, then you are probably familiar with Laura Numeroff. Her If You Give a… series is a favorite in my classroom and in my home. Personally, I love them because there are so many language and math skills that I can teach with the series. 

If you aren’t familiar with Laura Numeroff, she is the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, and more. My daughter is obsessed with her books, so we read every book at least once a week. 

As teachers and parents, we know how important it is to get young children engaged in reading, so I used my students’ and my daughter’s love of this series to create sensory bins. These sensory bins are a great activity for primary students because it helps build vocabulary and makes reading exciting. 

Here’s some activities for Laura Numeroff books that you can use individually or with sensory bins:

Idea #1: Color Identification

Being able to name and identify colors is an important primary skill. You can simply have kids point to different colors as you read the book, or you can make this more hands-on through sensory bins. 

In my sensory bins, there is a fun activity where primary students feed the character rainbow objects from the story. They always get a giggle out of this, and it’s an engaging way to learn and practice colors. Students can also place color cards on a color mat to match all the colors.

Here’s my toddler matching color cupcakes to a color mat from the If You Give a Cat a Cupcake sensory bin.

Idea #2: Comprehension

We all know the importance of comprehension skills, and primary aged children are never too young to begin flexing those skills. Each time we reach a new object that the character needs in the story, we add the object to a storyline map.

With sensory bins, we also feed these various objects to the characters as we read (again, cue the giggles!). This is a really fun and interactive way to get students and children to take note of details in the story and create a sequence of events.

These cards are perfect to feed the pig as you follow along with If You Give a Pig a Pancake!

Idea #3: Fine Motor Skills

I wanted to incorporate some fine motor practice while reading, so I had my daughter practice tracing. In the sensory bins, I included several fine motor tracing cards where they lead the mouse to several objects in the story. You could also have kiddos trace the outlines of several objects in the story.

Idea #4: Letter Practice

It wouldn’t be a primary activity if I didn’t include letter practice! I also like to incorporate letter practice into sensory bins. Using playdough or pom moms, students will trace letters from a word in the story. The playdough is always fun for them, and gets them practicing letters in a new way.

Letter sound fine motor cards from If You Give a Moose a Muffin

Idea #5: Math Skills 

We can’t skip math, right?! You can create counting cards using objects from the story. Have your students or children count the objects and write the number in the box. There is also a tracing option for students who need extra support.

Idea #6: Making Connections

The ability to make connections is a key comprehension skill and reading strategy. To strengthen this skill, I added a scavenger hunt to my sensory bin where primary kids can search for objects from the book in the classroom. This can also be extended to a home activity, where children see if they can find any of the objects in their house.

If you liked these activities for Laura Numeroff books, then you’ll love these sensory bins! These sensory bins will up the engagement on your reading. I have all of the pieces and activities you will need for all four books in the If You Give a… series. The activities include story sequencing, vocabulary, color identification, tracing, counting, and so much more!

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