Free Sensory Stories For PMLD and SEN Learners

Table of Contents

    What is a Sensory Story?

    A sensory story is one that serves to activate each of the senses to encourage engagement in a range of learning situations. These range from simple engagement to knowledge recall, memory, communication, vocabulary development, social skills, literacy, movement and so on. Each has a different purpose. This may be to calm, to share experiences, purely to encourage joint attention or interaction. There are many ways to link a sensory story to learning outcomes we have written about that in pour post on sensory stories and learning intentions.

    This page collates all the sensory stories published on

    Sensory Story Experiences

    Each sensory story has a focus on both the narrative and the sensory experiences. The rhythm and cadence of delivery is important and try I to ensure my stories rhyme. Each story contains recommended sensory resources. Some of which are free and simple some of which I have bought specially for that story. Generally these can be replaced with a bit of imagination and creativity. No story should cost money if it can be helped but sensory storytellers need to become expert wombles and hoarders – expect your cupboards to be full to bursting within weeks!

    Sensory Story collection Blended learning
    Human Body Sensory Story Resources

    Some of these multi-sensory stories also contain suggested movement opportunities. If using these it is essential that postural care and any physiotherapy is taken into account. You will know your learners well enough to decide what is appropriate for each to be actively engaged in the session.

    There is no official progression within sensory stories. I have tried here to group mine into categories that reflect the content and sensory experience each may provide. I write all of these for an 11-16 age bracket of pupils with PMLD or SLD. However many have been delivered to a wider pupil group with adaptations.

    Suggested Progression of Sensory Stories

    This is an attempt to provide an element of guidance as to the level of complexity of each story. Most practitioners and passionate sensory storytellers are adept at developing bespoke stories for their learners. Some may deliver the same story differently to multiple learners at the same time. Picking out key themes, words and experiences to make them meaningful for each learner. If there is one “rule” to follow when delivering multi-sensory storytelling it is to ensure each learner (or sensory being) has an active role in the sensory storytelling process (1 more rule is don’t just tell these once – repeat and repeat again (up to 20 times) to build anticipation and familiarity.

    For those practitioners who are accountable for capturing progress of their learners I have tried to develop these levels. These allow us to more easily link the stories with any SCRUFFY targets, Routes for Learning systems or tracking systems.

    Our Top Recommendation for a Book on Sensory Stories

    We are defining “complexity” here as both the level of understanding required to relate the story to the learners lives and the number of stimuli used. It also takes into account the complexity of the vocabulary used in the story. For example even the title “Blitz”, in level 6, is not a word many of our learners will be exposed to. Sorting Socks at level 3 is a shorter and less complex sensory story. The learner will also probably hear the word “socks” daily.

    Complexity Levels For Multi-Sensory Stories

    1. My World
    2. Experiences
    3. Life Skills
    4. Knowledge
    5. Fantasy
    6. Immersive Storytelling
    Suggested complexity levels of Sensory Stories for SEN, EYFS and PMLD
    Suggested Levels of Sensory Stories

    Our Free Sensory Stories By Complexity Level

    These sensory stories are all written by Joe White and available to download as free PDFs and adapt. If you like these please share via twitter or Facebook! I will be adding stories here as I write them. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the comments with ideas or suggestions. If you have written a sensory story that would complement this list and would be happy for me to include it on this site let me know. A Range of free sensory stories pdf.

    1 . My World Sensory Stories

    2. Experiential Sensory Stories

    3. Life Skills Sensory Stories

    • Sorting Socks – Here
    • Lily Lace and the Silly Socks – Here
    • Washing Up – Here
    • Stancake Day Pancake Day – Here

    4. Knowledge

    • The Human Body – Here
    • An Easter Sensory Story – Here
    • Snow Bear: A Winter Sensory Adventure – Here

    5. Fantasy

    • We are knights – Here
    • Line of Duty – A Police Inspired Adult Sensory Story – Here
    • The Hobbit a Middle Earth Sensory Adventure

    6. Immersive Multi-Sensory Storytelling

    • Blitz: A WW2 Sensory Adventure – Here
    • Dunkirk – Here
    • Spitfire: A VE Day Sensory Adventure – Here
    • A Sensory Odyssey: Troy – Here
    • Egypt: It’s Miles To The Nile – Here
    • Darwin: The Voyage of the Beagle – Here
    My Daughter Reading Snow Bear

    5 Key Resources For Sensory Storytelling

    It is easy to go over the top with resources for your stories. I will often fall into this trap and end up carrying boxes of stuff to the sensory room. Top tip is stick to one bag, bucket or box and at least one umbrella! Here are 5 resources that should form the core of your supplies. I wrote about our recommended sensory resources that I have used.

    Sensory Story Ideas
    Sensory Story Resources and Ideas
    1. Torch
    2. Mirror
    3. Sheets
    4. Fan
    5. Big Mac/Sound Button

    Other Fantastic Sensory Storytellers

    These practitioners are the reason this page exists, each of my stories has been influenced and shaped by their practice and ideas. These storytellers are the best of those that I have found – I hope one day I can develop an inclusive sensory story that is as good as theirs.

    Ultimate free sensory story collection
    Free Sensory Story Collection for Special Needs