A sensory story partners concise text with strong sensory stimuli to convey a narrative. The text is typically less than 10 sentences (although some stories on this page have more). The sensory stories on this page are designed to be easily resourced at home.
Sensory stories are sold as physical booklets. Each contains the story itself, as well as:
Information about how to facilitate the sensory experiences within the story.
Guidance on how to source or create the sensory experiences that accompany the story.
Exploration activities for you to share to generate further engagement with the story.
Stories with an asterisk * by the title include a movement sequence as one of their engagement activities.
A free basic guide to sharing a sensory story is available to download at the bottom of this page. Various leaflet guides about aspects of sensory story telling and the work of The Sensory Projects are available at the bottom of the guides page.
Find out about the history of The Sensory Story Project here.
As of 2020 The Sensory Projects is publishing stories by other authors, explore our new stories below. To find out about becoming a Sensory Story author with The Sensory Projects go to The Sensory Story Project page.
Stories cost £14 each. Use the PayPal buttons to purchase the stories securely. Stories are normally posted within 3 working days and should arrive within 10 working days within the UK; international purchases will take longer. Once you have placed your order you will receive email confirmation from firstname.lastname@example.org (please check spam folders for this message if you do not receive it within 24 hours). Receipts can be printed from PayPal.
There are some free sensory stories available on the Free Educational Resources page.
Postage is free for UK delivery.
Tsunami can be told in the water (or out). It takes the story experiencer on a dramatic adventure of survival. Written by Rachel Barker, a special school teacher from Leicester who loves to spend time in the water.
The Magi is a beautiful retelling of the Christmas story. The profits from the sale of this story go to the Mary Beat Fund. Mary was a profoundly disabled woman who led a profoundly adventurous life! Mary's fund provides grants to enable others to do the same. The Magi was written by Mary's sister Esther Veale.
Fire alarm is a very practical story that helps story experiencers get accustomed to and understand the sensations involved in a fire drill. Fire alarm was written by Katrina Arab, a special school teacher from Bath.
Disco explores the excitement and enjoyment of a night out on the town, from getting dressed up to showing your best moves on the dancefloor! Disco was written by Rachel Barker a special school teacher from Leicester.
After the party* is a sensual exploration of the afterglow of a party on a beach. This story is co-authored by Jo Grace and Katie Rose White. Katie Rose White is a play and laughter practitioner who runs The Best Medicine.
The birth of a star* was written in conjunction with physicists and tells with scientific accuracy how stars are formed in stellar nurseries. It will appeal to anyone who has seen a star. The Birth of a star is a very popular story that has been told in nurseries, universities, adult care settings, special and mainstream schools, literary festivals, around dinner tables and at bedsides.
Cocoon* has a wonderful balance of sensory experiences. The story can be understood on two levels: as the life cycle of a butterfly, or as a meditation on the need for rest after decadent living. Cocoon is one of the most popular stories from The Sensory Projects.
Dandelion* tells the remarkable life story of the dandelion. The sensory experiences accompanying the story relate to scientific and mathematical understanding. The story also offers the reader the opportunity to contemplate how ideas are spread and invites them to listen to their story experiencer with all their senses.
Wildlife in the city was originally written by Coralie Oddy to be shared with a group of individuals with dementia. The story reminds us of all the wildlife our cities have to offer if we know where to look (smell and touch). Coralie has worked with The Sensory Projects to turn this into a story for everyone. Discover the natural world though the engagement activities accompanying this story. Coralie now runs ReminiSense.
Boris the bumblebee is a children's story about a bee who interrupts a family's picnic. The accompanying activities give readers lots of ways of encouraging emerging communication in story experiencers.
Princess Esme* was co-authored by the Fantasy Realist author Gwendolen Benjamin and Joanna Grace. It is a children's story about a princess looking to escape from the rigours of palace life by spending time in the palace garden strawberry patch.
Woods* is told to a beat. Beat is absolutely fundamental to the development of communication and something everyone responds to. The story is about someone walking through a woodland who thinks they hear something behind them and begins to run, imagining what might be behind. Fear not, the story ends happily with a cup of tea.
Rockhoppers* is a fun tale about the goings-on in the lives of rockhopper penguins. Each line of the story ends with a repeating word making it a great option for readers who are looking to get story experiencers involved in telling the story.
Toys: The once and future king* is two sensory stories in one booklet, each told with the same sensory stimuli. One story is about the toys we play with through life, and how, although we may put them away as we grow older, they are always there for us to play with if we want to. The other story is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur. Telling the two stories together will give readers cause to reflect on the parallels.
Like* is not a story, it is a sensory sequence for using to get to know each other better. Through sharing the sequence we find out about each others' sensory likes and dislikes.
Naali is resourced using a multi-sensory room (MSR). Naali follows the journey of an arctic fox as he runs beneath the northern lights trying to reach the stars. Once you have finished your adventures in your MSR you are invited to follow your own Naali out into the world for more sensory adventures. The story booklet has insight from the research into the use of MSRs within it.
Templates for making Naali are contained in the booklet but can also be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
Ein wattspaziergang is a sensory story told in English and German. A walker crossing marshland has their walk interrupted by a dense fog and has to rely on senses other than sight to find their way to safety.
Ein Wattspaziergang is co authored by Joanna Grace, Sonka and Inga Reimers, with additional help from Ute Caspers, Katharina Delius and Kate Andrew-Simpson.
White kite is based on the history of Victorian feminism but can be read simply as a story about a girl looking for somewhere to fly her kite. Its themes of struggling, striving and sharing will resonate with everyone.
Alice in a sensory wonderland* is a sensory retelling of the classic tale with lots and lots of scope for exploration of sensory wonders.
My-craft is a sensory exploration based on the game Minecraft. This is a story to be played rather than read.
My-craft is co authored by Joanna Grace and Thomas Antony Kilby.
Puddle* can be told in haiku or in plain text. It tells the story of a boy who dips his toe into a puddle on the pavement, and then dives in to have an adventure at sea. When he returns to the pavement there is a woman waiting; younger story experiencers may view this woman as a mother figure, whilst older story experiencers may consider her a love interest.
Tattoo is an ideal story for older story experiencer. It is the story of someone waiting for a loved one at a tattoo parlour. Although Tattoo does not come with a movement sequence there is a lot of opportunity for movement within the story; the story experiencer will spin and swing and dance.
When you were gone is a sensory story written to help you share a memory of a loved one who has died, with a person in a sensory way.
Dream is a very intimate story intended to be read by a parent to their baby (of any age) at bedtime. Dream is accompanied by suggestions for sensory explorations appropriate to individuals at the early stages of development.
Snow? is timeless tale of winter anticipation, that follows the journey of a snowflake as it falls from high in the air down onto the waiting tongue of a child anticipating more.
"I teach secondary students with severe and profound learning disabilities I love your stories and can't wait to use them with my students"
"I work with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, one of the biggest challenges is when the extent of the child's learning difficulty is not fully appreciated. Sensory stories are so valuable in allowing a child to experience something that is meaningful and enjoyable."
"I've just received Cocoon, it's great, I'm ordering three more stories."
"My niece arrived 4 weeks early, we saw her for the first time today, took her the sensory story and she loved it. Thank you."
"I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the most amazing stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I was so overwhelmed with the level of detail in the stories. Thank you for allowing me to share your very special stories and stimuli with some very special children."
These pictures show a young man experiencing the sensory story Cocoon. Displayed here with the kind permission of his mother.
As well as the sensory stories above, Joanna Grace has written a number of relevant books which can also be purchased.
Sensory Stories: A Practical Guide (£20)
This sensory stories manual contains five sensory stories along with activity plans and information about sensory story telling.
Sharing Sensory Stories and Conversations with People with Dementia (£20)
This practitioner manual shows you how simple sensory conversations and sensory stories can be used therapeutically with people with Dementia to support their wellbeing and engagement with life. It also explores how we can use sensory communication to help people when they become frustrated and also to help people maintain independence as far as is possible.
Children's picture books (£12)
These children's books are sensory stories with full colour page illustrations.
(The protagonist in Voyage to Arghan happens to have Downs Syndrome, and the protagonist in Ernest and I is Autistic.)
Voyage to Arghan tells of a girl who wins a competition to be the first child in space. It has a particular focus on wellbeing and resilience. Click here to see pictures and videos of this story being shared.
Ernest and I follows the adventures of a boy and his toy penguin as they live a life on the ocean waves. It has a particular focus on nurture and attachment.
Spike and Mole: Spike lives alone in the garden until one day the actions of a tenacious little Mole tempt him out of his hiding place. When disaster strikes Spike and Mole work together to save the day.