The picture book The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony is a lively London adventure, perfect for sharing as we celebrate the Jubilee. Buy it here in our book shop:
And then follow these hints and tips for turning it into a fun sensory story.
This story definitely requires a hat! If you want to splash out and buy one to match the hat in the book you could try this one which is available on Amazon:
A gently squirt of water might be nice to represent Trafalgar Square with its fountains. Or simply mime the climbing that the queen and her guards do and encourage the children to join in.
For the zoo pages you could use puppets, like these ones, or go online to look for animal noises and record these on to BIGmack (or similar) recording switches.
Recording London Underground noises on to a BIGmack could also work well (you’ll find these sound effects on YouTube) – or use a little toy like this one:
For some tactile input run one of the carriages gently over a child’s hand or up their arm.
An unusual suggestion for the London Eye would be this hamster wheel:
Using this would let the children experience a spinning wheel – though on a slightly different scale from the real thing!
The traffic jam needs lots of beeps and toots. Try a bicycle horn or two. These can be quite loud and startling – try to find ones that are meant for children as they tend to be not quite so noisy.
A recording of the Big Ben ‘bongs’ could work well – or if you have a rattle like this one try turning it very slowly to make the ‘tick tick tick’ or a large clock.
A slide whistle would make exactly the right noise as everyone floats up and away and then back to the ground.
Or you could buy some of these guardsmen, or just cut very simple guard shapes out of red felt and then toss them up and down on a parachute or large piece of fabric. This makes a lovely interactive ending for the story – hold the piece of fabric tight between you in a circle and use it as a sort of trampoline to bounce the toys or felt pieces up and down.
And right at the very end you could have a doll – or maybe some more sound effects – this time a babbling baby.
It’s not necessary to have a prop for every page – just use actions and noises for some pages. It could be nice to encourage everyone to join in with running (and flying) actions and noises between pages as this will help carry the story along – try saying ‘and everybody ran’ (or ‘flew’) after every page and then stamp you feet or tap your knees (or make whooshing noises for the flying).
Remember – not all of my props recommendations are toys! The props I suggest should not be used by children unsupervised.