For me TOUCH is the most important sense in a Sensory Story. It is the sense that gets the most reaction and, at times, it can be the only one that will connect with your audience member.
So it's important to try to include as many opportunities for TOUCH as possible.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to explore this sensation.
Using massage in a Sensory Story can be a wonderful moment for connection. Massage can be calming and relaxing, it can also be stimulating, if you tap out the story or vary your massaging techniques.
Using different materials is a must in a Sensory Story. Allow your audience member to explore the material and find different ways to present and play with the materials. For example, run the material across the body, wave the material to create the sensation of wind (this can be coupled with smell and sight and thus be three senses at once!) Try to find a mix of materials that will be pleasant and stimulating.
Bring interesting objects into your story that your audience can explore. I favour objects that do something - create a sound, light up or have an interesting texture, as well as looking good. They don't have to represent the story element exactly, you can be imaginative and metaphorical. For example, the ants in my Sensory Story Bag - The Queen Bee, aren't ants, they are light up LED balls that squeak. Much more interesting than a plastic ant and they always get a reaction.
The key, when thinking about TOUCH, is to find the best way to bring the story into the body of the person. You may need a range of items and you may find what works with one child, or on one day, won't work another. That's OK, just explore and have fun with it.
Vicky McFarland is a storyteller and writer based in Northern Ireland. She tells stories all around the country as well as providing story and creative writing resources. Visit her website www.taletime.co.uk to find out more about Vicky's Sensory Stories.