Early Years – Literacy

How to build a story bag

If your child is blind or partially sighted, story bags, sacks or boxes are an important tool when it comes to adding meaning to the story and engaging your child in the activity.

What is a story bag?

Story bags sit alongside your child’s book and contain tactile objects that relate to the story. As you read the words, your child can physically hold objects, talk them through with you and bring a lot more meaning to the words. It will really help them with concept development and also make story time even more fun and engaging. You can use a drawstring bag, tote bag, zip-up plastic envelopes, pillow case, an old shoe box or canvas storage boxes. You can print off some large print words or braille some items to accompany the book. If the book has complex images that your child struggles to focus on, you could draw or print some simpler, high contrast images to use as an alternative. You will most likely find items to fill your bag with around the house and it doesn’t need to be expensive! You should also be able to borrow story sacks from your local library so it is worth enquiring as to what is available.

If you have one of our Sensory Discovery Packs these items are perfect to include in story time. You already have a soft toy to represent an animal or toy in a story, a chiffon scarf to explore a texture or wind, a shaker and the space blanket for sound effects and light-up toys for any night time stories.

Explore the links below for ideas and inspiration to start putting together your own bags

Hands-On Literacy Experience

This article from WonderBaby.Org is a great introduction to story boxes, guiding you through why they’re important, what to think about and ideas to get started.

Easy to Create Story Boxes

Paths to Literacy share tips on creating story boxes for children who are blind or partially sighted, including suggested books.

Creative Story Buckets #BucketsOfJoy

Positive Eye show you how to turn plastic buckets into versatile learning tools with their #BucketsOfJoy project. There are ideas for lots of early years stories to share with your VI child.

Storybox: Adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Adapting Goldilocks and the Three Bears for a 4-year-old who is deaf-blind on the Paths to Literacy website.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Fun and creative ideas for story box activities for young children with a classic children’s favourite!

Stories to enjoy with your Early Years Sensory Discovery Pack

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite children’s books that you can enjoy while incorporating the sensory items provided in your pack.

Finding inspiration online

If you have a favourite story and you’re looking for inspiration you’ll find lots of ideas across craft and parenting blogs. Here are a couple we found to get you started!

Story Sacks – Ideas and Play

These story sack ideas from Busy Busy Learning incorporate lovely sensory play elements!


Sensory story telling spoons

The Imagination Tree share this lovely twist on sensory story aids using wooden spoons.


Story sack ideas on Pinterest

This board offers lots of great inspiration for different story books.

Videos introducing ideas around story bags and boxes

Using tactile resources to support visually impaired children’s reading skills

This video from Sight Scotland introduces story boxes and tactile books.

How to create sensory story resources for pupils with sight loss

Tips for educators on the Sight Scotland YouTube channel

Sense talk you through using sensory items to bring ‘Toddle Waddle’ to life.

Story boxes for the blind and vision impaired

The CSDB YouTube channel explains story boxes and how they can be used with students who are vision impaired.

Room on the Broom Story Sack

Early Childhood and Family Services demonstrate how you can make a story sack at home.

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