Sensory or feely bags are a cheap and fun way to engage the senses and develop language skills.
Choose a non-see through bag that is tactile and catches the eye. (If you don't have a bag then use a pillowcase)
Place a variety of items inside the bag.
When choosing items think of engaging all the senses: Add items that stimulate the vision, tactile items that feel nice to the touch, items to smell and taste and items that make interesting sounds.
Give the bag a gentle shake to gain the sensory explorer's attention.
Invite the sensory explorer to place their hand into the bag and select an item.
Encourage the sensory explorer to use their sense of smell, touch, hearing and taste to guess what the item is. (If the sensory explorer is unsure then provide plenty of clues.)
Build functional language skills.
Ask the sensory explorer to tell you or show you what you might do with the item and where you might find it.
(If the sensory explorer is unsure, model what to do with the item and see if they can copy your action.)
Allow the sensory explorer time to explore the item and process the information then shake the bag again for them to select another item.
Keep language simple.
Focus on phrases such as 'Choose' or 'Take one' when presenting the bag to the sensory explorer.
Focus on the name of the object e.g 'starfish', 'sponge', 'hat' and two-word phrases e.g. 'little shell', 'red sunglasses'.
Depending on the ability of the sensory explorer you may choose to add verbs such as 'dig', 'eat', 'swim' etc
Seaside Themed Sensory Bag
Place items you may take to the beach or find at the beach into the bag e.g. bottle of sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat, sand toys, starfish, seashells, sponge, seaweed, pebbles small container of sand (or sandpaper.)
Weather Themed Sensory Bag
Place weather related items into the bag, a torch (to represent the sun), a fan (to represent the wind), a water spray bottle (to represent the rain), a Joss Stick or piece of net to represent fog.
Extend the learning further by adding a hat, gloves, folded umbrella, a wellington boot and a hand warmer. Can the sensory explorer match the clothing to the weather?
India Themed Sensory Bag
Add items related to India into the bag. Sari or sparkly material, mirror, bangles, rice, spices e.g. turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, poppadoms, water in a squirty bottle to represent a monsoon, a heat bag or torch to represent the sun.
Explore sounds. Play sound effects e.g. a snake hissing, a lion roaring, Indian languages, Indian music, the Indian national anthem, a busy Indian market etc (there are many free audio clips online)
Three Little Pigs Sensory Bag
Add items related to the story: twigs, straw, cinnamon/bread sticks, lego or duplo brick, plastic teeth or fur to represent the wolf, a fan (to re-enact the wolf blowing)
Extend learning. Can the sensory explorer retell the story using the props?