Sensory Areas: Families

Students with visual impairments can create family sensory books that have tactile pages describing members of their family.

By Gwyn McCormack

Nearly any topic lends itself to exploration through various multi-sensory activities.  This week the focus is on the family, with examples of ways to engage in tactile, visual, sound, taste, smell, literacy and numeracy activities.


  • Tactile/visual book to represent each member of the child’s family.
  • Role play the activity that represents each family member:
    • Brother – bouncing ball (likes football). Use bright coloured, glittery balls, to roll on child’s table.
    • Dad: Likes cars: sound of car, play with toy cars.
    • Mum: Likes clothes: things worn by mum – feel bright coloured, different textured fabrics, and silky, woolly scarves, look in mirror, brush hair, put on chunky necklaces and bracelets. 
    • Pet families – Cats, Dogs, Horses, etc. 
  • Make Duplo house, create home area for role play. 


Some of these ideas would also be used in the tactile section also.

Photographs of family members – make photo album 

members of family
Family photo album


  • Favorite music played at home
  • Sound of door bell at home 
  • Sound of family chatting together 
  • Sound of mum and dad or brother and sister saying hello to child


  • Favorite food of the family 


  • Favorite food of the family 
  • Mum’s perfume, dad’s aftershave
  • Favorite bubble bath, shampoo etc. 
cologne and perfume
Bottles of perfume


  • Names of family members 
Family – a Fingerplay
This is a family hold up one hand, fingers spread 
Let’s count them and see, 
How many there are, 
And who they can be count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 
This is the mother touch pointer finger 
Who loves everyone 
And this is the father touch big finger 
Who is lots of fun. 
This is my sister touch ring finger 
She helps and she plays,  
And this is the baby touch little finger 
He’s growing each day. 
But who is this one? touch thumb 
He’s out there alone, 
Why it’s Jackie, the dog, 
And he’s chewing a bone. wiggle thumb


  • Count number of bedrooms, number of people 

Example Family Sensory Book

Page of family book
My family; Here is my mum and Rosie my sister, This is Huggs my teddy bear.
Family book
My family; Here is Charlie my dog. This is Patch and Jaws my fish.
family book
My family; This is my dad. This is my bugs. I ride my bike. This is my slide.
Page of family book
My family; This is Nan Debs and Grandad Chris.
family sensory book collage

There are more shared ideas at