Sensory Areas Journeys: By Boat

This multi-sensory activity uses tactile, auditory, and visual elements, as well as literacy and numeracy, to help children with visual impairments to integrate skills across all areas of the curriculum.

By Gwyn McCormack

Here I share another sensory curriculum session plan full of ideas to support the theme of Journeys: By Boat. These ideas incorporate tactile, visual, and auditory activities, as well as suggestions for reinforcing literacy and numeracy skills.


  • Feel range of toy boats, feel cloth used for sails. 
  • Make imaginary boat with broom sticks for oars. 
  • Pretend to row the boat – sing “Row row row the boat.” 
  • Simulate the rocking motion of a boat. 
  • Play with boats on water tank, include use of battery-operated boat if possible, listen to the splish, splosh of the water. 
  • Play racing the boats across the water. 
  • Fan to create wind on face, if on a boat. 
  • Dress up in sailing wear, cagoule, wellington boots, peaked cap, souwester, stripy t-shirts, binoculars. 
  • Weather on boat – rainy, sunny, windy – simulate with fan, bellows, air pump on voile, streamers, balloons for wind. Hairdryer for warm air. Torch light shining on sunny yellow, fluorescent fabric. 
  • Simulate rain – watering can on tin tray, simulate wind with fan. 
  • Simulate thunder by banging drums or clapping cymbals. 

sail boat with yellow sails


(some of these ideas would also be used in the tactile section also) 
  • Use Wellington boots to make blue/green textured paint footprints to represent the sea. 
  • Make large boat shape to add to the sea, children to add bright coloured/textured sails to the boat. 


  • Listen to a ferry siren, horn


Row, row, row the boat. 
The big ship sailed on the Ali, Ali O


  • Larger, smaller, thin, wider, (shapes of boats) 
  • Feel shape of sail – triangles, feel corners, feel straight edges. 
  • Count boats on water.
  • Line boats up by size biggest to smallest. 
boat collage
There are more shared ideas at