My Top Five Sensory Props for Autumn

Another list of my favourites for you – and hurray for autumn – the sensory season! Autumn provides us with so many sensory props: conkers, seed heads, leaves, berries, apples…but here are a few others to add to the mix:

1) ‘Crinkle’ fabric in a bag

We definitely need to hear the scrunch of leaves in Autumn – recreate this in your classroom by putting some crinkle fabric into a little drawstring bag. You can buy crinkle fabric here: https://wwwhttps://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/473338712/baby-safe-crinkle-material-en71?ref=yr_purchases.

A roll of 'Crinkle' fabric

Or a cheaper alternative would be to collect unwanted baby toys that have a ‘crinkle’ feature and cut the crinkle fabric out of them. You could also experiment with crinkly packaging.

If you give every pupil in your class a small piece of crinkle fabric in little bag then everyone can join in with the crunching! Simply hold the bag in your hand and squish and squeeze. Small fabric drawstring bags can be purchased quite cheaply online. (Try looking for wedding favour bags.) Jute ones like these have a nice texture:

A set of small brown jute drawstring bags.

2) A gentle brush for leaf sweeping

If you are re-creating some leaf sweeping in your classroom then I recommend this brush:

A hand brush with soft bristles.

It is beautifully soft and creates a lovely feeling if you are ‘sweeping’ on the back of a child’s hand. It is a wee bit pricey but will make a lovely sensory addition to your classroom.

3) A Squishy Mushroom!

Autumn is mushroom time! I love this mushroom toy because it is so soft and squeezy!

A squishy toy mushroom.

4) Swallows chattering

Swallows chattering as they gather to leave for Africa are one of the sounds that mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. There are some nice videos of swallows gathering to migrate on YouTube. This swallow toy makes the noise of a swallow when squeezed:

A swallow (bird) soft toy.

5) Squirrel tails!

This is the time of year to see squirrels busy in the garden, parks and woods. A woolly duster makes a great squirrel tail!

A soft wool duster with a wooden handle.

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

My Top Five Props for Seaside Sensory Stories

Here are some fun props to add to your seaside stories along with the buckets and spades, shells and sun lotion! These props would be useful for many sensory stories set at the beach.

1) Seagull

A seagull that makes a seagull noise! How lovely!

Seagull soft toy that makes a seagull noise when squeezed.

2) Spaghetti seaweed

Why not try dying some spaghetti or tagliatelle with green food colouring to create seaweed. (There are lots of instructions for how to dye spaghetti online.)

Tagliatelle pasta that has been dyed green.

3) Lobster Claw Oven Mitts

Turn yourself into a huge lobster with these fun mitts!

Oven mitts in the shape of lobster claws.

4) Handwarmers re-create the heat of the sun

I use the disposable kind of handwarmers – they are a little wasteful but very easy to use. I simply pop them into a little drawstring bag and knot the bag up tight and then tell the children to ‘feel the sunshine’. You can find handwarmers like these all year round online, or stock up from outdoor/sports shops in the winter.

Packet of disposable hand warmers.

5) A stretchy octopus

Nice and tactile! Jellyfish are also available in the same range.

Stretchy octopus toy and image of girl playing with the octopus toy.

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

My Top Five Intriguing Sounds for Sensory Stories

An unusual sound is great for getting people’s interest in a sensory story. There are some noises that I love to include in my stories. My feeling is that if you know a noise will help a story along shoehorn it in to your story if you can!

Here are my top five noises!

1) A Slide Whistle

It is a very funny noise! Why? I don’t know – but for some reason it makes everyone laugh. Use it for someone/something falling, jumping, flying, growing, shrinking…

Acme slide whistle

The Acme Slide Whistle is a bit more expensive than most but will last you for years and years – it’s the Rolls Royce of slide whistles!

2) Bird Song

BIrd song can be added to almost any story that takes place outside. I often use it at the beginning of a story – it’s a soft inviting noise that captures people’s attention in a gentle way. Try using the RSPB soft toy birds with real bird sounds:

Robin soft toy which makes sound when pressed.

I sometimes cut the sound-box out of these toys and put it in a little drawstring bag instead (knotted up tight). The bag is simpler to press to get the sound and also more age appropriate for older children and/or adults.

3) A ‘football’ rattle (or ratchet)

These make a good tick-tock (of a clock) if you spin them very slowly. I also use them to make the sound of drawbridges going up or down, a drip of water, knitting needles clicking and crowds celebrating.

Football or ratchet rattle

Be warned – they can be very loud! If I am handing them around for people to join in with I usually use ones that are a bit cheaper as these tend to be quieter.

4) A bicycle bell

These make such an appealing noise – I often put the hero/heroine of my story on a bike simply so that I can include some ting-tings! Who’s to say that Little Red Riding Hood didn’t visit Grandma on her bike! Or the littlest Billy Goat didn’t cross the bridge on his scooter!

Bicycle bell with 'one-touch' design.

This one-touch type of bell is much easier for a child to ‘ting’ than a traditional bicycle bell. (Especially if you hold it for them.)

5) A rain stick

Any story set in the UK can include a shower of rain! It must have rained on Jack’s magic beans to make them grow. And I bet it was raining when Cinderella waved her sisters off to the ball.

Brightly coloured rain stick musical instrument.

This Goki rain stick is one of my favourites because you can see the beads inside – there is something quite mesmerising about watching them fall – sometimes they distract me from my own story!

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