Stories can be very fun to read, especially if they have great pictures. But it can be even more fun to read a sensory story!
Sensory stories involve a written text/story with the use of physical objects and materials to create sensory experiences.
Several parts of the story are accompanied by a sensory experience to help children learn more about what is happening in the story and to bring it to life.
When creating a sensory story, it is good to incorporate many different senses to build a range of experiences e.g. touch, sound, smell, sight, and movement. For example, in a story about the beach, sand may be provided for children to touch.
You can use all sorts of things to build different experiences and representations of what is happening in the story, here are some suggestions to use for each sense:
Touch – tarp, water (drops or spray), cotton wool, sticks, sponge, materials (satin, fur, leather), wind
Sound – bells, drums, crunchy chips, bubble wrap (popping), shaker (rice inside), grass sweeping
Smell – spices, herbs, perfume, soap, foods
Sight – lights, dark blanket to go under, colourful patterns, soft toys, bubbles
Movement – squeezes, ticks, stomping, clapping, shaking
NB. Be aware if a child has sensory processing difficulties. You may encourage them to interact with an item, but do not pressure them. Instead let then watch or listen instead of touching.
Sensory stories are a great way to engage children while building their understanding of the story. I also like to incorporate signs and symbols to further build the learning experience.
To increase participation in the story, you might pick a line that everyone needs to say. For example, everyone shouts “hello!!” to call out for cow’s friends.
To create a sensory story, you might use a book you already have or you might be brave enough to jump in write your own. Whether it is about a lonely cow who travels to different places or a jungle full of different terrain, customize to the materials you have and make it fun!
Lacie Glen Vile
Speech Language Therapist