Sensory Learning at home

Sensory Learning at home

How you can support your child at home and create
sensory and learning experiences at home

At Tuke School we teach the curriculum for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties by using a multi-sensory approach. We plan for each student individually taking into account their needs and their motivations. We aspire to make our students learning fun and creative and use a variety of techniques in our teaching in order to do so. Most of these techniques are ones which you can use or adapt to use at home with your children.

This document aims to give you some ideas and inspiration for activities that can be carried out at home, perhaps whilst caring out your daily activities, or whilst you carry out your childs’ physio or MOVE programme. Or just simply to have fun.

A good place to start with your child is to involve them in your everyday household activities. To find out more, please choose an icon below:

  1. Cooking



    Perhaps they can join you in the kitchen whilst they are standing in their standing frame and you are cooking the dinner, give them a wooden spoon or utensil and a bowl in their tray. Perhaps put some ingredients into their bowl for them to mix, taste, smell. Let them touch the different textures with their fingers. Fill their bowl with water and add items for them to fish out or play with in the water. Let them feel the heat of the oven when you open the door. Let them smell the food as it comes out of the oven or in the pan as it cooks. Help them to press the on button on the microwave to warm up food.

    Put on the radio or music whilst you cook, bang a pan or pot to the beat using kitchen utensils.

  2. Cleaning



    Give your child a cloth to hold, or a duster, maybe with some polish sprayed onto it for them to smell.


    Let them hold the tube to the hoover whilst you turn it on and off. Encourage them to help turn on and off. Feel the suction on their hand or clothes. Whilst they are sitting or lying on the floor, play anticipation games with the hoover getting closer and closer to them and then suck their body with the hoover.

    Making the beds

    waft a sheet over their heads like a parachute, ask them to make choices about colours of duvet to put on the bed. Turn the lights off and close the curtains, make the room dark. Maybe read a book by torchlight whilst your there.

  3. Getting Dressed


    Getting dressed

    give them pairs of socks to match and hold, offer choices of what to wear, sing a song about getting up in the morning, getting dressed. Name parts of the body, match them to clothes.

  4. Gardening



    Give your child opportunities to hold gardening utensils. Feel a bowl of earth. Mix the earth with water to make mud, feel it between your fingers of toes. Take their shoes off and let them feel the grass between their toes. Enjoy being outside, let them watch you mowing the lawn. Smell the cut grass. Find plants in
    the garden to hold and smell. Collect items to make a picture

    Washing the car

    get dressed in waterproofs, splash the water. Let your child help hold the hose, squeeze a sponge. Let them get close to the car and feel the spray come off in their face. Mix soap with the water and touch the bubbles.

    If you feel like being more creative at home you can collect together interesting and sensory objects to use with your child. Many everyday household items such as torches are really useful for playing games and creating fun activities. We also often find resources for sensory sessions and learning activities from the pound shops at little expense.
    Here are some more ideas for activities that you could set up at home.

  5. Stories



    An excellent resource to use with your child is books. Allow them to hold and manipulate the book, turn the pages, share the pictures, find a particular image.

    You can read the story to them, make up your own, chant the words, make funny voices, sing the words in your own tune. Repetitive stories are very useful where the same words come back again and again. This allows your child to anticipate some of the words and perhaps begin to join in. Make up a poem. If you have a voice output device such as a bigmac at home you could put the repetitive phrase onto their switch so that they can join in with the story.

    Collect props to go with the story such as soft toys, lights, balls, scarves, smells etc that may come up in the story. Make yourself a story box to keep the items in so that each time you read the story your child can use the props to go with it.

    You could use a story as your starting point for your childs physio or MOVE programme. For example if they have walking goals that you choose a story about going on a journey, such as “We’re going on a bear hunt”. Get up and move around, motivate your child to move by making their walking part of the story, Hide a bear for them to search for.

  6. Lighting



    Torches are fun to use and are interesting for children to hold and investigate, whether it be to shine on themselves or to track across other surfaces or walls in a darkened room.

    Other light up objects such as fans, spinners, balls are all useful for turn taking games, making requests, used as motivators or for use alongside stories. Many of these items can be found in local pound shops, or on line at ROMPA.

    These items can be used to stimulate communication and making requests or choices by presenting them to your child in pairs or individually. At home you can use the lights to create different atmospheres. You can purchase coloured light bulbs , or paint your own that would fit into a ceiling light or into a lamp, perhaps a blue light for a calming effect and a red light for a stimulating effect. Your child might have a preference for a certain colour which they might like to have in their bedroom.

  7. Music



    Music can be on the radio, TV, on a CD, on a computer, a tablet, or a voice output device such as a Bigmac. Or a song that you always sing together. Your child may have favourite songs or theme tunes from the TV that they love to listen to repeatedly which could be recorded onto a switch or other device that they can then access when they would like.

    Find a different radio station that you don’t usually listen to, maybe classical music, jazz music, opera or rock music. Dance to it, move in different ways. Practise standing up and sitting down when the music starts and stops.

    Music can be used to calm, and soothe, or to stimulate and enliven or wake up. Music or sounds can be used as a cue for something that happens regularly in order for your child to anticipate and event, such as the same song sung at bedtime every night.

    Musical instruments are fun to investigate. You can make your own simple instruments such as shakers very easily with a bottle and some pulses. They can be used to track and identify sounds, to play turn taking games with, use to accompany songs or stories, increase fine motor skills whilst gripping or reaching out for them.

    Lots of songs and backing tracks that you could use can be found on:

  8. Art



    Wear messy clothes or have a painting t-shirt to put on and get ready for painting. Have some brightly coloured paints and allow your child to get messy! Let them make choices of colours, enjoy the sensory feel of the paint. Feel it with their fingers, their toes. Hand printing, foot printing. Use a roll of wallpaper on the floor and allow your child to move along it however they can to make a mark or walk cross it if they are able.

    Put some music on to paint to, sing a song about colours, make up a painting song and have fun! Use items such as washing up brushes, sponges, rollers to make marks on paper with the paint.

    Cut up vegetables to do printing patterns. Be creative.

  9. Computers



    If you have a computer at home there are some fun accessible activities for your child.