World Book Day 2021

Friday 4th March 2021

As World Book Day is going to be a little different this year, we thought we would give you a few sensory ideas to help celebrate the amazing interactive moments that books and stories can provide.

We are sure that many of you spend time reading to your children and transporting them to exciting places through the words on the page. Here at Sense Abilities, as you know, we like to bring all the senses in to play with any activity. We think World Book Day is the perfect opportunity to bring books and stories to life in a more 3D, sensory kind of way.

Where do you start?

The best way to start with this is to simply choose your favourite story book and see what you can bring to it to make it truly come alive.

We are sure that you will have items and objects around your home that you can associate with your chosen story.

Choosing your items.

Does your story involve an animal? If it does, do you have a plastic toy or cuddly toy of that animal? If not, do you have any material that could represent the feeling of that animal? If it’s furry, maybe a throw, scarf, cushion, clothing? If it is something like a dragon, do you have anything bumpy you can use like bubble wrap or some lego or duplo pieces that have bumps on the top. Maybe you need something rough to represent the animal…how about a rough towel or piece of carpet or fine sand paper.

Once you have your main character element, think about what else the character does through the story that you can bring to life. What is their environment? If they go through the woods, can you get some leaves or a small branch with leaves on or some twigs? Make some leaves from paper or thin card. If you have any, pretzels or twiglets, they make great feeling twigs. If its autumn in your story and the leaves are dry, how about a small tub of crunched up cereal and something to press down on to it like a metal spoon to make the sound of crunchy footprints or this would be great for snowy footprints. If they are on the beach, can you get some sand, shells, pebbles? If you don’t have sand, maybe you could use ground up cereal such as rice cereal or even finely milled oats.

Can you find a smell to represent the story?

If there is washing being done in the story, put a small dot of fabric conditioner on the end of a strip of card to smell, or spray with some lemon juice for citrusy smell.

Do you have any essential oils or an air freshener that smells like grass or has an ocean scent? Put a dab of that on some card. Or make up a little bit of coffee or tea or hot chocolate if your character has breakfast or food.

If you have any little sealable pots, these are ideal to pop liquids and lotions in to open at the right time in the story to have a sniff. Most people have some herbs or spices in their cupboards…would any of those do to represent an element of the story?

Can you create any sounds using things at home to bring your story to life?

Dripping water on to a saucepan lid or in to a tub to make the sound of rain or use a rain maker. Make a popping sound with your mouth or some bubble wrap. Can you tap a table, some cardboard or a hardback book with your fingers to make the sound of tiptoeing feet or scurrying animal feet? Make a crash or a bang with a saucepan or some saucepan lids. Drop some building bricks from a small height to make a tumbling sound. Scrunch some foil, crunch some cereal, crumple paper or wrapping paper or newspaper for a rustling sound.

When thinking of sounds, try looking online for the sounds of waves or seagulls. See if you can find cracking fire sounds or leaves rustling in the wind. Airplane sounds, car sounds, bicycle bells, phones ringing, children playing, dogs barking, splashing sounds,animal noises…..

Does the story involve food? Is there anything you have that you can use to give a little taste? Maybe some fruit or vegetables that can be safely touched, tasted or smelled, or something that can be licked? Ice cubes to touch or lick to feel the cold.

Use fans or concertina paper to create the feeling of a breeze or the wind. Use materials, leaves or bubble wrap to gently stroke the skin or a very fine spritz of water.

You have your props what now?

Once you have gathered all your props, settle down to read your story using the props at the associated points in the story to bring it to life. Read it a second time, but this time around, take time over your story to engage with the props and explore them in different ways.

For example don’t just use a finger to touch a piece of fur, stroke it against a bare arm, smell it, close your eyes and rub it on your cheek, touch it with your toes. Don’t just use the sand to make the sound of footsteps, touch it, trickle it through your fingers, feel the shells, smell them, hold them to your ears…taste the fruit, notice the colours and the seeds. How does it feel? Soft or hard? How does it smell?

Use fingers to touch and feel, props to visually stimulate, noises to hear, aromas to smell, and foods to taste.

By using simple items from around the home, not only can you can bring amazing stories to life in a sensory way, but you can help to stimulate and ignite imagination and creativity that will provide the building blocks for learning, play and development.

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