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Activity and strategy

Creative Story Buckets

Story buckets offer early literacy experiences for children with visual impairments, using real objects to support learning opportunities.

While most people see buckets as home and garden accessories and wooden spoons as cooking implements, in the hands of Positive Eye they become versatile learning tools, which anyone from parents to professionals can access on the high street.  Story buckets are similar to a story box or story bag, in which materials are gathered relating to a particular topic and students with visual impairments can explore the real objects as they learn about the topic.
These story bucket ideas have been shared by Local Authority Services, Special Schools and other organizations working with students with visual impairments.  The stories include:
  1. We’re Going on a Polar Bear Hunt — Follows the pattern of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” but with a polar bear theme. Learning opportunities include communicating, exploring, and developing language. 

a plush polar bear in a bucket

  1. We’re Going on a Windy Leaf Hunt — This theme bucket (rather than a single story) covers autumn and the wind. There are opportunities for literacy, mobility, tactile/fine motor skills, and science lessons in addition to others. 

items relating to autumn and wind in a bucket

  1. Commotion in the Ocean — Rhyming poems about creatures beneath the sea provide opportunities for lessons about science, matching opportunities, texture, role playing, signing, and numeracy, among others. 

items relating to creatures in the sea including toys, a book, and other objects

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves — This familiar story inspires actitvites that encourage children to explore the Braille labels for items in the bucket, and invites them to try and sequence the story themselves. The materials also suppory numeracy lessons. 

a bucket containing objects related to snow white and the seven dwarves

  1. Claire’s Special Hair Do — This story is about a young woman who wants a special hair do for a party. Students can work on literacy, science, math, tactile/fine motor, and other skills while Claire and her hairdresser try out some hair styles. 

a bucket with objects relating to someone going to a hairdresser

  1. Jack and the Beanstalk — The aim of this story bucket is to help students access the curriculum while developing visual skills. The well-known story facilitates lessons in literacy, numeracy, science, tactile/fine motor skills, and vision (e.g., tracking). 

a bucket with items relating to Jack and the Beanstalk including a doll, a plush dragon, and other items

  1. Sensory Passover Bucket — This story bucket takes advantage of this symbolic meal to provide a sensory opportunity for all children to learn about the subject. Learning opportunities include connections, knowledge, symbols, and values. Read more about this story bucket idea.

a bucket containing items related to Passover including a Seder Plate

  1. The Hungry Caterpillar — A simple and repetative story makes for great opportunities to work on literacy, science, math, and tactile exploration. 

a bucket with items relating to the story The Hungry Caterpillar

  1. Take Off Series – Magic (RNIB Braille Reading Scheme) — This is based on a second level reading scheme aimed at primary aged chilren who are learning to read braille. The bucket includes a number of materials that will help develop writing skills, reading skills, and the opportunity to develop other haptic skills at an age appropriate level. 

a bucket with items relating to magic such as a hat, a wand, and many other items

  1. One of a Kind — This story bucket helps students think about their face and how unique it is. It can be used to support learning about facial features using different tactile resources. There are opportunities for linking to literacy, early phonics work, fine motor skills, and other areas.

a bucket containing dolls, and other items relating to the theme one of a kind

  1. Harry’s Visit to the Opticians — Through Harry’s visit to his eye doctor, students can better understand their eye condition and learning to manage it themselves. There are opportunities to learn about the senses, discussing eye care and looking after glasses, and many other areas of development.

a bucket with items relating to a trip to the eye doctor including toy glasses, an eye chart

  1. A Bucketful of Dinosaurs — The designers explain that, “Dinosaurs can be used to bring together a variety of [curriculum areas] including…science and history and allow for many concepts to be explored.” The bucket facilitates activities relating to science, fine motor skills, literacy, numeracy, history, and social skills. 

a bucket of toy dinosaurs and a plastic volcano with a book about dinosaurs

  1. Superworm — A story about a worm with special super powers provides opportunities for activities relating to literacy, numeracy, understanding the world, tactile skills, and braille. 

a bucket with items relating to the story about a super worm

  1. A Bucket of “B’s” — Students can use a bucket filled with items starting with the letter “b” to play sorting games, matching and grouping games, and other activities that promote language, discussion, and interaction. 

a drawing of a blue bucket with a red label and green pockets

  1. The Birthday Party Bucket — The creators explain that this bucket, “aims to create as many different tactile, hands on learning experiences…all centered around the theme….” Learning opportunities include literacy, numeracy, tactile discrimination, fine motor, vision (visual awareness, attention, tracking), and mobility.

a bucket with supplies for a birthday party including a banner, a book, balloons, and a present

  1. The Dragon Machine — George’s adventures with dragons creates opportunities for students to read and write prepositions, practice with numbers, place numbers 1-10, sort objects, create a tactile map, make a path with Wikki Stix, and other fun activities. 

a bucket with a toy dragon, a book, and other items related to the dragon theme

  1. The Smartest Giant in Town — George the Giant’s story about how he helped a group of animals lets students work on phonics, art, music, science, math, role play, and other skills. 

a bucket containing a doll, plush animals, and a toy cottage

  1. The Polar Bear and The Snow Cloud — This bucket uses all the senses to access to story of a polar bear on a snow cloud. The creators explain that this story bucket aims, “to encourage visual awareness, fixation, transferring gaze, visual teaching, tracking, and scanning.”

a bucket with a plush white bear, a plush white puff, and a book

  1. Summer — A bucket full of items related to summer provides learning opportunities for litearcy, numeracy, science, and music. It also facilitates activities such as model making and sensory trays. 

an illustration of a bucket with a picture of items relating to summer such as a sandal, sunglasses, a beachball, and a bucket and pail, there are pockets on the side of the bucket

  1. Frozen –This bucket promotes accessible, creative, and fun ideas to bring the story alive and to make it meaningful to children with visual impairments. Activities include reading, finding and exploring each item, talking about the items, playing songs from the story, counting games, and other games. 

a bucket with items from the story frozen, including a hat and dolls

Each bucket includes an introduction, a list of materials, information about the creation of the story bucket, and ideas for learning opportunities using it with students.  Read the full post.



Student making orange juice with a teacher using a juicing machine.
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