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Sourcing Story Props for Sensory Storytelling

Stimulate the Senses

Select props that cover the five main senses, sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell.

Be Imaginative

 If you are representing an animal, pick its main feature e.g. lion’s mane, tiger’s stripes, or a shark’s teeth rather than using a plastic or stuffed toy. You can also use a sound effect.

Be Thrifty

Use low budget items found around the classroom, home, garden, and outdoor area.

Raid the Recycling 

Re-use parcel packaging

Gift bags & pretty boxes add an air of mystery for a 'what's in the bag/box?' activity.

Cardboard boxes become castle, dens, houses, shops, trains, cars, buses, boats, airplanes, rockets, a dolls house, post box, theatre, ice cream van, or a guitar. The imagination is the limit!


When selecting story props, consider the sensory explorer's needs and abilities and how they interact with objects. This will give you an indication of the texture, weight, and shape of a prop to use e.g., use of a head torch enables a hands-free exploration.

Shop Clever

Build up a bank of resources on a budget.

Grab a bargain at your local charity shop, car boot sale and £1 shops.


Take advantage of the sales - buy Christmas props in January.

Place a 'junk' box in the staffroom at your setting. One person's trash is another treasure!

Using Herbs & Spices in Sensory Storytelling


Explore fresh and dried herbs & spices including the pods, seeds and leaves.

Use in sensory artwork

Top Five Herbs & Spices

Mint: This fast growing herb is available in many varieties including spearmint, lemon, apple and chocolate.

Fennel: Aniseed flavoured, feathery, delicate fern-like leaves and seeds.

Rosemary: Edible evergreen bush with woody stems and blue flowers.

Thyme: Tiny edible leaves with white, purple and pink flowers.

Chives: A rapid growing herb belonging to the onion family with tall, hollow leaves and purple-pink pom-pom like edible flowers.

Grow Your Own

Cheap and easy to grow, herbs can be planted from seeds or cuttings (most towns have a community herb garden, or swap cuttings with friends & family)

Grow in pots on a sunny windowsill, in containers outdoors or plant a herb garden.

Harvest the seeds for the following year.

Using Edible Flowers in Sensory Storytelling


Edible flowers engage the senses, are delicate, colourful, tactile and can be eaten providing the perfect multisensory experience.

Activities Using Edible Flowers

Add to homemade dough.

Freeze inside ice for sensory exploration.

Press and use in artwork.

Dry to make pot pourri.

Weave into flower headbands.

Use in baking and to garnish salads.

Top Five Edible Flowers

Lavender: beautifully scented leaves and flowers use in baking and make lavender sensory bags.

Nasturtiums: Round, broad peppery-flavoured leaves, exotic, colourful flowers and edible seeds (capers)

Roses: A member of the strawberry family, their delicate, silk-like petals have a soft feel on the tongue and a perfumed taste.

Other edible flowers: fuchsias, marigolds, cornflowers, violas, pea shoots and flowers, pumpkin flowers.

Health & Safety Guidance

Only use plants and flowers you know are safe to eat.

Pick first thing in the morning.

Wash before use.

Ensure the flowers are bug and disease free.

Do not touch or eat any flowers that have had pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on them.

Ensure there are no thorns.

Be allergy aware.

Using Sound Effects in Sensory Storytelling


Sound effects create atmosphere breathing life into a multisensory story and providing the opportunity to elicit a response from the story explorer.

They present the sensory explorer with great opportunities to explore cause and effect, practice listening skill.


Sound effects can also be used as a tool to re-tell a story promoting comprehension and understanding. 

SSCD's (Single Switch Communication Devices)

If you have a budget, consider investing in and SSCD. There are many different designs to choose from and although some features will vary, their basic function is to record and playback speech, music, or sound effects. Some SSCD's have a removable clear lid that allows you to insert pictures, symbols, numbers, words, or letters to match your recordings.

Read more about augmentative aids and assisted technology

Free Audio Clips

A quick search on the internet will provide you with access to a library of free audio clips and sound effects that can be played via your phone, iPad, Kindle or recorded on a Dictaphone.

Explore sound effect apps.

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Promoting Listening Skills

Stimulate the Auditory System

Present a range of familiar and unfamiliar sounds.

Explore volume.

Note the listener's reactions and preferences to calming/alerting music, grinding, hushed, monotonous, musical, intermittent, rhythmic, mellow and percussive tones.

Play musical instruments, blow whistles and party blowers, sing, hum, and whisper.

Listen to bubbles pop and the sounds of nature.

Listen to guided meditation adventures.

Play listening games.

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