A Sensory Story for World Book Day

World Book Day is on the 4th of March this year. A perfect day for a sensory story with lots of books in it!

A stack of books

I wrote this story for the Wigtown Book Festival and imagined it happening in one of the lovely wee bookshops in Wigtown, but feel free to set your version of the story in your local bookshop, or library or even in the book corner in your classroom.

The props for this story are all ordinary household objects. You will need: an apron, a duster (a feather one is great if you happen to have one), a scrubbing brush, a yellow duster or similar (for polishing), a pile of books and a mug. But you don’t need to stick to these exact objects – just adapt the story to suit whatever you have to hand. If you are telling the story in a classroom you could make up individual sets of tactile props for every pupil.

Sensory props for the story: a scrubbing brush, yellow duster, feather duster, books and a mug

Brownies are a kind of Scottish fairy – they can be very helpful, but are quick to take offence! This story is very loosely based on a traditional Scottish tale.

Directions for how to use the props are in the square brackets.

The Bookshop Brownie

This is a story about an old bookshop. [Let the children see and feel some of the books]

A brownie lived in this bookshop. A little magical man.

Every night the old woman who worked in the shop put out a big mug of milk for the brownie. [Use a teaspoon to ‘stir’ the mug of milk]

The brownie slept all day.

Every night he got up.

He shook out his apron. Shake shake shake [Shake the apron]

He picked up his duster. Dust dust dust [Dust with the duster – you could ‘dust’ the children’s hands as well]

He sorted the books. Sort sort sort [Sort the books by thumping them on top of each other and flipping through the pages.]

He scrubbed the floor. Scrub scrub scrub [Pretend to ‘scrub’ with the scrubbing brush. You could scrub the children’s shoes]

He polished the front step. Rub rub rub [Use the yellow duster, shake it out and then ‘polish’ with it]

He drank down that big mug of milk. Glug glug glug [Mime drinking the milk]

And went to bed just as the sun was rising.

Every night it was the same. [Repeat the actions from before]

He shook out his apron. Shake shake shake

He did the dusting. Dust dust dust

He sorted the books. Sort sort sort

He scrubbed the floor. Scrub scrub scrub

He polished the front step. Rub rub rub

And he drank down his milk. Glug glug glug

Shake shake shake

Dust dust dust

Sort sort sort

Scrub scrub scrub

Rub rub rub

And glug glug glug.

But one night the brownie…

Shook out his apron. Shake shake shake

Picked up his duster. Dust dust dust

Sorted the books. Sort sort sort

Scrubbed the floor. Scrub scrub scrub

Polished the front step. Rub rub rub

And went to get his mug of milk…

Uh-oh…no milk! [Make this very dramatic!]

The old woman had forgotten to put out milk for the brownie.

It doesn’t take much to annoy a brownie.

He shook his fists. [Shake your fists]

And then…

Stomp stomp stomp [Stomp as loudly as you can, encourage other to join in]

Went the brownie across that clean floor

And stomp stomp stomp

He went over the shining doorstep

And  stomp stomp stomp

He went down the road

And over the hills and out of sight…

And after that the old woman had to… [Repeat the actions one more time]

Shake shake shake

Dust dust dust

Sort sort sort

Scrub scrub scrub

And rub rub rub

all by herself.

And the little brownie was never seen again.

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

A Pancake Day Sensory Story

This time I have a script for you rather than a book recommendation. This script is for an easy-to-tell sensory story for pancake day. It’s based on the folktale The Little Red Hen.

When telling the story it can be fun to use the names of children or adults who are present for the different characters. I quite enjoy the ‘naughtiness’ of the story with its ‘don’t care’ attitude from the three lazy characters and slightly selfish ending. However you may feel that it is giving the wrong message about behaviour in which case you could change the ending to ‘reform’ the three lazy characters at the end. They could rush around helping to set the table and then share the pancakes and do the washing up afterwards! Or you could have all the characters be animals, as in the original folktale.

Frying pan and kitchen utensils hanging on wall

Props suggestions for the sensory story: bag or canister of flour, wooden spoon, bowl, frying pan, pancake flipper, lemons, table cloth and ‘pancakes’ cut out of brown felt or cardboard. (If you use something light for your pancakes you can enjoy flipping them without having to worry about injuries!) You could also include smells such as cut lemons and maple syrup.

Flour canister

Pancake Day Story

Freya was cleaning the cupboards in the kitchen.
At the back of the cupboard she found a some left-over of flour. (Give flour canister a shake)

‘Who will help me make pancakes with this flour?’ said Freya.
‘Not I,’ said William.
‘Not I,’ said Ben.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ said Mary.
‘Well,’ said Freya ‘I will do it myself!’
She put the flour in the bowl with eggs and milk.


‘Who will help me mix the batter?’ said Freya.
‘Not I,’ said William.
‘Not I,’ said Ben.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ said Mary.
‘Well,’ said Freya ‘I will do it myself!’ (‘Mix’ noisily using the spoon and bowl, let the children help)
And she did!


‘Who will help me flip the pancakes?’ said Freya.
‘Not I,’ said William.
‘Not I,’ said Ben.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ said Mary.
‘Well,’ said Freya ‘I will do it myself!’
And she did!

She flipped and flopped twenty-seven pancakes! (Mime flipping pancakes, or flip your felt pancakes, let the children help)

‘Who will run down to the shop for some lemons?’ said Freya.
‘Not I,’ said William.
‘Not I,’ said Ben.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ said Mary.
‘Well,’ said Freya ‘I will do it myself!’ (Make fast ‘running’ sounds by tapping hands on knees)
And she did! (If you are using real lemons let the children smell them – being very careful no-one gets lemon juice in their eye)

‘Who will help me lay the table and make it nice?’ said Freya.
‘Not I,’ said William.
‘Not I,’ said Ben.
‘I can’t be bothered,’ said Mary.
‘Well,’ said Freya ‘I will do it myself!’ (Shake out table cloth, let the children help)
And she did!


‘Who will help me to eat the pancakes?’ said Freya.
‘I will,’ said William.
‘I will,’ said Ben.
‘I will,’ said Mary.
‘No you won’t’ said Freya.
‘You watched while I mixed the batter…’
‘You watched while I flipped the pancakes…’
‘You watched while I ran down to the shop for lemons and you watched while I made the table nice…
‘…And now you can watch while I eat the pancakes!’ (Repeat all the actions: mixing, ‘running’, flipping the pancakes, shaking out the cloth – then mime eating the pancakes)
Freya sat down and ate all twenty-seven pancakes, with lemon and sugar sprinkled on top.

‘Delicious’ she said.

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

Wake up Santa!

I’m sending you over to the Wigtown Book Festival again for a Christmas sensory story! Santa has fallen asleep – the children won’t get any presents! The magical objects and animals at Santa’s home try to wake him up.

This sensory story is very easy to use at the last minute in the run up to Christmas as it needs hardly any props.

You can download the sensory story script, with lovely illustrations by artist Kate Leiper, if you scroll down the page here:

https://www.wigtownbookfestival.com/library/a-sensory-story

(You will also find a link to some Christmas sensory rhymes on this page.)

Happy storytelling and happy Christmas!

The Magic Porridge Pot

For this blog post I am sending you to the lovely Wigtown Book Festival! I am very happy to be working with the Wigtown Festival on a series of Sensory Story and Rhyme videos. First up is the Magic Porridge Pot:

https://www.wigtownbookfestival.com/library/a-sensory-story

Pots and pans and wooden spoons at the ready!

Kitchen utensils to use as props for a sensory story.

There will be a new sensory story and set of seasonal rhymes every month from now until April at the Wigtown Book Festival Website. These stories and rhymes use household objects as props and are designed to be told at home or school. Happy storytelling!

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.