Free Sensory Stories For PMLD and SEN Learners
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 inclusiveteach.com.
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!
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.
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
- My World
- Life Skills
- Immersive Storytelling
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
- Hot & Cold- Here
2. Experiential Sensory Stories
- The Autumn Forest
- Blue Abyss :The Sea and seaside – Here
- Town and Country Sensory Story – Here
- Am I a Pirate? – Here
- Are You an Elf? – Here
- Are You a Monster? – Here
- You Might be an Alien – Here
- You Might be a Dragon – Here
- You Might be Santa – A Christmas Sensory Story
- You Might Be A Snowman – Dressing up sensory story
- Walking In a Winter Wonderland
3. Life Skills Sensory Stories
- Sorting Socks – Here
- Lily Lace and the Silly Socks – Here
- Washing Up – Here
- Stancake Day Pancake Day – Here
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Joanna Grace – A Voyage to Argan
- Joanna Grace – The Sensory Projects.
- Pete Wells – The Sensory Story Podcast – Great Inclusive stories and links here
- Victoria Navin – Rhyming multi-sensory storytelling – Lots of Stories and more here.