It Was a Cold, Dark Night, Tim Hopgood

It Was a Cold Dark Night by Tim Hopgood, book suggested for Autumn sensory story.

Autumn is definitely here – time for some nice Autumn sensory stories. Tim Hopgood’s It Was A Cold, Dark Night is perfect for turning into a sensory story to mark the beginning of the new season.

Hover over the images to see links to where to buy the prop suggestions – or get in touch if you have any questions.

The story starts off with the wind blowing. You could use a fan, or a wind whistle like the one made by Acme:

Acme wind whistle - prop for sensory story.

If you are telling the story to children who enjoy visual storytelling there are lots of nice cuddly hedgehog toys and puppets available online. If you are looking for something more tactile then this little fellow is quite expensive – but so wonderfully prickly and the exact size of a real life hedgehog:

For those of you who need a tactile prop but are on a tighter budget you could used a scrubbing brush instead!

Scrubbing brush tactile props

I would use a different fabric drawstring bag for each of the animal homes. Inside you can have story props to represent the different animals and birds. Choose these according to what your children will enjoy the best.

Tactile props could be:

pom poms or cotton wool balls for the rabbits (to represent their fluffy taile)

a dress-up fox’s tail for the fox (widely available to buy online)

feathers for the owls

As you read the story encourage the children to put their hands in the bags and feel the props.

You could also use one of the RSPB owl toys that hoot. The children will be intrigued if you keep it in the bag and let them hear it before you take it out.

Owl soft toy that 'hoots'.

If the children you work with enjoy a surprise you could use these flying bats in your story:

Flying bat toy

It’s possible to buy artificial leaves:

Artificial leaves

But it could also be a nice project to collect your own leaves with the children for the ending of the story. Everybody can help to cover the hedgehog with the leaves.

Some children would also enjoy leaf confetti – cut or tear simple leaf shapes from tissue paper and then let these fall gently over the hedgehog (and the children) at the end.

Remember – not all of my props recommendations are toys! The props I suggest should not be used by children unsupervised.