Sensory Areas: Fire Service

This activity helps children who are blind or visually impaired to develop sensory skills through fireman activity.

By Gwyn McCormack

So many different skills and sensory areas can be addressed through a single activity.  Theme-based curriculum is used by many teachers of young children or students with special needs, as they offer a way to help children at many different levels to explore concepts in an interesting and fun way.  Here are some ideas for multi-sensory activities that can be taught to children with visual impairments through the theme of Fire Service.


  • Feel water (warm, cold, cool).  
  • Use water spray to spray tepid, warm water on child’s hands and feet.  
  • Feel hose pipe, unwind, wind up on reel, use hose pipe attached to water supply to spray grass outside school.  
  • Represent the hose pipe by feeling rubber piping.  Use cardboard tube and paint to look like a hose pipe, cover with textured paper or bright coloured, fluorescent shapes.
  • Use plastic drain pipe and pour water down the pipe.  
  • Make spiral patterns to represent the hose pipe in its wound up state using string (different thicknesses) or wikki-stix.  
  • Make a collage of different sized reels or spiral patterns using string, rope, cord, wikki stix etc.  Play with yo-yo’s, (yo-yo’s with lights, sounds.)
  • fireman helmetFeel a fireman’s helmet, the shiny buttons on the fire person’s uniform.  
  • Make large card buttons covered in silver foil or shiny, fluorescent paper.  Add to a large black jacket or overcoat – let the children try on. 
  • Wear wellington boots and make footprints in textured paint e.g. add rice.
  • Children to decorate wellington boots with fluorescent shapes, hang up as a large mobile in classroom.
  • Tactile book about fire engine 


(some of these ideas would also be used in the tactile section also) 
  • Toy fire engine, ladder, real ladder, blue flashing lights, crane to raise and lower cage for fire engine. 


  • Siren, horn, water gushing, tap running, sound of splashing water, sound of water being sprayed.
  • Sound of fire engine being driven.
  • Sound of fire people shouting directions to each other.
  • Rattle metal spoon against the rungs of the ladder.
  • Using musical instruments to simulate siren and horn – bells, horns etc. 


Language associated with going up and down the ladder.

Straight, tall, high 
Language associated with the hose pipe – curly, long, smooth, round 
Language associated with water – cold, hot, cool, warm.
Language associated with fire person’s uniform – shiny, rough, round, circle, thick (fabric). 
The Fireman – A Fingerplay
Five little fire fighters sit very still 
hold up five fingers
Until they see a five on top of the hill 
Number one rings the bell, ding-dong. 
bend down thumb
Number 2 pulls his big boots on. 
bend down pointer finger
Number 3 climbs on the truck right away. 
bend down middle finger
Number 4 joins him, no one can wait. 
bend down ring finger
Number 5 drives the truck to the fire. 
bend down little finger
The big yellow flames go higher and higher. 
spread arms
Whooo-ooo! Whooo-ooo! Hear the fire truck say 
imitate siren
As all of the cars get out of the way. 
Shhh! goes the water from the fire hose spout, 
rub palms together
And quicker than a wink the fire is out! 
clap hands
Ten little firemen sleeping in a row, 
extend both hands, fingers curled
Ding dong goes the bell 
pull bell cord with one hand
And down the pole they go 
close both fists, put one on top of other, slide down pole
Off on the engine, oh, oh, oh. 
steer engine with hands
Using the big hose, so, so, so. 
When all the fire’s out, home so-o slow 
steer engine with hands
Back to bed, all in a row. 
extend both hands with fingers curled 
barn on fire cover
Usborne Farmyard tales – Barn on Fire by Heather Avery & Stephen Cartwright – Can Poppy and Sam save the day when the barn at Apple Tree Farm catches fire?
fireman sam

Fireman Sam – animated children’s television show about a fireman named Sam.


  • Stretch hosepipe out to full length and count in steps how long it is.
  • Count the buttons on the fire person’s uniform.
  • Add a tactile number to each button.
  • Set out as on the uniform and stick to black fabric.  
  • Find buckets of different sizes, order in size.  
  • Fill buckets with rice, sand, pebbles, for the children to run their hands through.  
  • Place a ladder flat on the ground and allow the children to walk alongside counting the rungs.  
  • Allow the children to step between the rungs and count the spaces.
fire services collage
There are more shared ideas at