Sensory Curriculum Ideas to Support a Holistic Approach to Literacy and Numeracy

Ideas for incorporating all of the senses in literacy and numeracy activities for children who are blind or visually impaired.

This week I would like to share one of the many sensory curriculum plans I have written to model on Positive Eye courses about how to enable an holistic approach to literacy and numeracy whilst also supporting access via the other senses. 

People as Helpers – Bus Driver


  • Feel steering wheel, tyre, fabric that seats are covered with.
  • Make bus seats, children to sit as if on bus, play wheels on bus, children to sway as if on the bus, mimic action of turning corners, sound of engine, ring the bell, chat on the bus, sing ‘Wheels on the bus’  Bus stopping and starting again, children getting on and off the bus.
  • Have fan running to replicate the windows being opened and the breeze circulating on the bus, or to replicate the breeze as the bus doors open.
  • Feel vibrating cushion/bed to replicate bus when stopped at bus stop.
  • Make large collage picture of bus, with the children in the class looking out of each window. Shape of face, with tactile hair, curly, straight, short, long etc. (Children can add hair that is like their own)
  • Make collage of bus with photograph of each child in each window, add child’s object of reference beneath each window.
  • Make some over –sized windscreen wipers and side to side as the child/support move the wipers from left to right. Two broom poles in two buckets of sand, may replicate the feeling.



(some of these ideas would also be used in the tactile section)

  • Ticket machine, buttons on ticket machine.
  • Use cardboard box to make ‘pretend’ ticket machine, add shiny buttons or contrasting buttons with tactile/large print numbers on.
  • Play with toy bus, look at pictures of buses  – simple bus shape set on plain background to create clear contrast.
  • Wear bus driver’s peaked hat, make shiny badge to go on front.



  • Horn on bus, noise of bus engine., screech of brakes, the sound of the engine as it starts off, slows down, stops.
  • Vibration of bus – use a large drum with pebbles, rice, peas on the surface to make a vibration.
  • Ringing the bell on the bus – use door bell, or bicycle bell.
  • Sound of rain on windows on bus – use watering can on metal tray
  • Sound of people talking on the bus



  • If you made up a story about going on the bus to the ice cream shop, you could include tasting flavours of ice cream, or ice lollies!)
  • Alternatively – the children could take part in a picnic at the end of the bus ride – taste sandwiches, crisps, cakes etc.


  • Smells as you pass by on the bus – smell of flowers, smell of local bakery, smell of fish and chip shop. Smell of people’s perfume/aftershave worn as they get on the bus.
  • Smell of  inside of the bus
  • Smell of  diesel



  • ‘Wheels on the bus go round and round’
  • Talk about and depict with the collage of the bus, the journey that the children make by bus to school.
  • Talk about their bus driver, what he says to the children when he sees them.
  • Make up a story about where the children are going on the bus. E.g. to the park, to the ice cream shop, how the bus stops to pick up the other children on the way.
  • Words associated with sounds the bus makes – loud, noisy, imitate the noise brmm, brmm.

The Wheels of the Bus

Children perform actions and sounds suggested by the words.

People on bus

The wheels of the bus go round and round,
Round and round, round and round
The wheels of the bus go round and round 
All through the town.
The driver of the bus says Move On Back!  Move On back!  Move On Back!
The driver of the bus says Move On Back!
All through the town.
The people on the bus go up and down, up and down, up and down.
The people on the bus go up and down all through the town.
Substitute these also:
The horn of the bus goes beep beep beep.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish.
The doors on the bus go open and shut.
The bell on the bus goes ding-ding-ding.
The driver on the bus says, “Move on back”…
The lady on the bus says, “Get off my feet”…
The baby on the bus goes, “Wa-Wa-Wa”…
The people on the bus say, “We had a nice ride”…
The Bus
bus into countryside
There is a painted bus,
With twenty painted seats,
It carries painted people
Along the painted streets.
They pull the painted bell,
The painted driver stops,
And they all get out together
At the little painted shops.


  • Feel shape of steering wheel and wheels on bus
  • Feel shape of bus – straight edges.
  • Count seats
  • Count steps on double decker bus
  • Count windows
  • Count number of bells
  • Feel different textures, count how many
  • Count wheels
  • Count people on bus
  • Count number of people getting on and off bus
  • Count number of times bus stops
There are more shared ideas at
Download the handout here.