Teaching ideas and activities to celebrate the month of May including Vesak Day, World Bee Day, Hedgehog Awareness Day, Whitsun, National Sun Awareness Week, and more!


  • National Walking Month
  • National Share a Story Month
  • National Smile Month
  • May 3rd – Space Day
  • May 6th – 12th Sun Awareness Week
  • May 5th – 11th Hedgehog Awareness Week
  • May 5th African World Heritage Day
  • May 9th Europe Day
  • May 11th World Migratory Bird Day
  • May 12th Florence Nightingale’s Birthday
  • May 19th Whitsun
  • May 20th World Bee Day
  • May 23rd Vesak Day
  • May 24th 1844 First Morse Code Message was sent

National Walking Month

Enjoy a listening walk outdoors. Enjoy a listening walk around your school/setting. Make a sensory pathway. Use different textured materials and natural items to form a pathway (sand/gravel/carpet/water/leaves/wood/foam etc) Would the students like to walk barefoot to stimulate their senses?

Share a Story Month

For me, the best part of storytelling is the bond shared between the storyteller and story explorer as you share your adventures. For anyone new to multisensory storytelling, you can watch free training videos here:

The videos will talk you through how to source story props and using the props/resources as a tool to promote communication skills, independence areas of learning, and for students to explore and express their likes, dislikes, and sensory preferences providing opportunities for them to make choices and rejections. There are also lots of ideas for sensory extension activities linking to areas of the curriculum.

May 3rd Space Day

Space day is an unofficial holiday aimed at promoting STEM activities. Create a Space Role Play Area. Role play is a crucial part of development providing opportunities to engage in imaginative play. Involve the student(s) in creating a space role play area and the props to go in it. Secure a black or dark blue sheet/blanket/bubble wrap/egg cartons to the wall. Add stars. Create a rocky/sandy area on the floor to represent a moonscape. Add glitter to the sand for a shimmering effect. Make large rocks from painted scrunched up newspaper and smaller moon rocks from scrunched up aluminium foil. Provide an assortment of cardboard boxes, aluminium foil, space blankets, pipe cleaners, empty plastic bottles, old cd’s, masking tape, tumble dryer venting hose for your ‘astronauts’ to make their own rockets, moon buggies, and space suits.

Moon Dust Recipe: You will need 8 Tablespoons of Cornflour, 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Essence. Method: Combine the vegetable oil and cornflour until you reach a powdered yet mouldable texture. Option to add flavoured essence to stimulate the senses. Press the footprint of a shoe to spark curiosity (the astronaut’s footprint).

Create an area for Scientific Investigation. Set up a desk and chair. Place on an assortment of items to investigate: bubble tubes, colour changing eggs, colour paddles, coloured cellophane, disco balls, fibre optics, foil glasses with coloured lenses, glitterballs, glow in the dark stickers, glowsticks, kaleidoscopes, light-up toys e.g. bumble balls, disco glide balls, fluorescent chimeabout, glitter globes, glitter rockets, Koosh, LED multi-spinner, mood cubes, neon gloves/scarves, spiky flashing balls, spinners, UV bubbles, UV mittens, UV slinky, UV shaker, windmills, light pads, prismatic projector, prisms, rainbow goggles. Add fine motor tools to encourage scientific investigation: camera, magnifying glasses, tweezers, magnets, mirrors. Alternatively, create your space area inside a pop-up tent! Decorate by threading LED lights and hanging cut-outs of planets from the ceiling of the tent.

Extend Learning: Provide a box containing items of different materials: Plastic, material, metal, rubber, and wood. Can the students sort the items into their categories according to their material?

Dress for the Part! Disposable decorator’s overalls make excellent space suits. Wellies or boots covered with foil make great moon boots.

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Journey into Space – A Multisensory Exploration of the Solar System £3.98

‘Mars has red rocks and a bright red sky, the volcanoes reach my rocket they are so high. This planet is cold at night minus 80 degrees. If I stay here much longer I’m going to freeze!’ Journey into Space

May 6th – 12th – National Sun Awareness Week

‘Sensory Sun’ by Sparrow’s Class at Hebden Green School, Winsford, Cheshire

Create a Sensory Sun

Class teacher Vicky Ormerod-Jordan explains how the Sparrow Class Hebden Green School in Winsford, Cheshire, celebrated the sun!

‘We danced with a yellow stretchy band which is the centre of our sun.

We added oranges and lemons, having smelt, touched, and tasted them.

We explored sweetcorn, peeling off the leaves.

We smelt yellow marigolds and added them to the sun centre.

We bounced, tennis balls and rolled them down a ramp.

We enjoyed a song I wrote called ‘The Sun will Shine,’ where we shone a torch on various body parts.

The best part of the picture was making hand and footprints in yellow paint for the sun’s rays. Very messy!’

Thank you to Vicky, the team, and the students.

Other Ideas

Discuss the importance of staying safe in the sun (link to skin cancer Awareness Month)

Make a sun safety box and place sun protection items inside for exploration

  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Protective clothing (round neck cotton t-shirts)
  • Bottle of water
  • Sunshade

Extend Learning

Can the students tell you what the items are used for how they protect you from the sun?

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Summer A Multisensory Story plus 101 Sensory, Summer Themed Activities‘ 


May 5th – 11th Hedgehog Awareness Week

Let’s Explore…Hedgehogs

Promote Physical Development, Coordination, Balance, Control & Movement & Imaginative Play

Can the student move like a hedgehog?

Can the student curl up into a little ball?

Build Understanding of Animal Habitats and Develop Creative Thinking Through the Use of Different Materials

Hedgerows are a hedgehog’s natural habitat, and our gardens also make a good habitat.

Explore a Hedge

Mark a section 1m x 1m and count how many species of plants you can find in that area.

Make a Hedgehog Habitat

Layer a container (tuff-tray or cardboard box) with fern/bracken, dried grass, straw, and leaves. (Alternatively, find a patch in an outdoor area amongst shrubbery, or in leaf/wood piles) Hedgehogs roll the leaves and grass into balls, can the student roll the leaves and grasses into balls?

Explore Hedgehog Food

A hedgehog’s main diet consists of beetles, along with caterpillars and earthworms. Head outdoors. Lift plant pots, stones and logs and see if you can find any of these insects. Use a magnifying glass to see more detail

Make a Hedgehog Sensory Box

Line a shoebox with leaves (I used vine leaves, rosemary leaves, curry leaves and bay leaves for an extra sensory element)

Add a SSCD with a recording of a hedgehog snuffle.

Add hedgehogs (Spiky pom poms, pinecones and a nail brush represent the spikiness of a hedgehog or make hedgehogs by rolling Playdoh into a ball then create the spikes using dried spaghetti)


Place a few items in the box for sensory exploration.

Remove the items the student doesn’t interact with, replace them with other items.

Keep changing the items to keep the activity interesting and motivating


May 5th African World Heritage Day

This a day to celebrate of the culture of the Continent of Africa.

Discuss the importance of Africa and its vulnerability due to climate change and poaching.

Explore animal ‘skins’

This presents an opportunity for students to explore and express their likes, dislikes and sensory preferences and can help in everyday life such as clothing.

– Faux fur

– Faux leather (fake leather belts, handbags)

– Fabric craft feathers

– Faux suede

Extend Learning

Animal Match Game

Print out an African Animals picture grid (see example below)

Can the students match the animal pattern to the animal?

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May 9th Europe Day

A day to mark peace and unity throughout Europe.

Make a sensory flag of Europe

You will need

  • Rectangular shaped card
  • Blue Paint
  • Scissors
  • Sticky Gold Stars
  • Torch


  1. Paint the card using blue paint and brushes/fingers/rollers/sponges. Leave to dry.
  2. Stick the gold stars in a circle.
  3. Dim the lights.
  4. Shine the torch on the stars to see them reflect in the light.

Alternative Activity

You will need

  • Blue Material
  • Scissors
  • Torch
  1. Cut 12 stars out from the material
  2. Dim the lights
  3. Shine the torch through the back of the flag to illuminate the stars.

May 11th

World Migratory Bird Day

Raise awareness for the conservation of birds and their habitats.

Explore a Variety of Different Shapes, Sizes and Colours of Feathers

Feed the Birds: Birds need to prepare for migration by eating food.

Bird Song Sound Bingo

  1. Print out a picture card with the pictures of migratory birds:Cuckoo, Dove, Goose, Flamingo, Heron, Hummingbird, Starling.
  2. Play the sound effect of the birdsong/call
  3. Can the student identify the bird that makes that sound?
  4. The students may not know all the sounds, so this is a good exercise in listening to new sounds. You can repeat the activity later in the day (week) and see if the student(s) remember any new sounds they have learnt.

Simplify the Activity

Although not all of these birds are not migratory, this activity will teach sound discrimination.

Make a Bird Nesting Material Feeder

You will need

  • Wire Bird Feeder/Suet Cage
  • Materials for Nesting: Cotton Wool, Feathers, Fluff, Grass Clippings, Dried Grasses, Hair, Leaves, Moss, Mud, Pine Needles, Plant Stems, Shredded Paper, Sticks, Straw, String*, Wool* and Yarn*. *Use only natural fibres (not plastic or acrylic.)


1. Ensure the nesting materials are broken/cut into small pieces/lengths as they are a potential choking hazard for birds.

2. Mix the materials.

3. Loosely push the nesting materials into the bird feeder (option to open the top to create a wider opening) Hand the feeder in a place safe from predators.

May 12th Florence Nightingale’s Birthday

Explore the contents of a first aid bag/box

This activity will raise awareness of the contents of a first aid box* and reduce the anxiety some students may have around first aid.

*I have included extra items that may not be in your box

  • Sterile plasters of assorted sizes
  • Large and medium-sized sterile, individually wrapped, unmedicated wound dressings
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Triangular bandage
  • Disposable gloves
  • Foil Blanket
  • Sterile wound wipes
  • Finger dressing
  • Burns gel dressings
  • Adhesive tape to secure dressings
  • An updated first aid guidance leaflet.

Practice simple first aid.

Discuss how to raise the alarm in an emergency.

May 19th Whitsun

Whitsun is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter. It is a Christian celebration marking the coming of the Holy Spirit.

There are many traditional activities associated with Whitsun including fetes, fairs, pageants, parades, walks and Morris dancing.

Explore Morris Dancing

Watch footage of Morris Dancing

Can the students copy the movements to form a Morris Dance?

You will need

  • Handkerchiefs
  • Ankle & Wrist Bells
  • Jingle Bell Shakers
  • Ribbons
  • Garlands (weave ribbons through a hula hoop)
  • Straw Hats

Alternative Activity

Morris Dancer Sensory Box

  1. Layer a box with shredded paper.
  2. Place items related to Morris Dancing into the box: Handkerchiefs, Ankle & Wrist Bells, Jingle Bell Shakers, Ribbons and Garlands.
  3. Encourage the student to place their hand inside the box and choose and item to explore.
  4. Model the item’s function. Can the student copy your actions? Model the language.
  5. To add a little interest, dim the lights and use a torch to explore the items. A wind-up Dynamo torch will promote fine motor skills, a head torch provides a ‘hands free’ option.

May 20th World Bee Day

A day to appreciate and raise awareness of bees.

May 22nd Vesak Day/Buddha Day

Vesak is the celebration of the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Mark the Day the Sensory Way

Meditate: Dim the lights in the room and close the blinds, switch on an LED candle or play footage of a candle burning on your interactive whiteboard.

People traditionally wear white clothes.

Explore white clothes or white fabrics

Provide a selection of white fabrics of different textures for the student to explore their likes, dislikes and sensory preferences: Acrylic, Aertex, Chenille, Corduroy, Cotton, Crepe, Crinoline, Fake Fur, Felt, Flannel, Fleece, Hessian, Jersey, Lace, Linen, Mesh, Net, Percale, Polyester, Polycotton, Satin, Silk, Terry, Velour, Velvet, Viscose, Wool.

Family & Friends decorate temples with flowers and exchange cards.

Make a Vesak Day Flower Card

You will need

  • A piece of card
  • Double sided tape
  • Flowers/Herbs/Leaves/Grass


  1. Cover one side of the card with double-sided sticky tape or a layer of PVA glue (if using PVA, leave until it is almost dry but tacky enough to stick flora and fauna on to)
  2. Take the learning outdoors
  3. Show the students the flowers and grasses that are safe to pick (dandelions and daisies)
  4. If you have a herb garden in your school/setting pick foliage: lemon balm, mint, rosemary, thyme. (If you do not have access to herbs then pick grass and leaves)
  5. Students pick the flowers/herbs/grasses then stick them onto their card as they find them
  6. Option to place a photo of the student on the card.

Hands Free Alternative

  1. Cut a wide band of card and secure into a bracelet
  2. Apply a thin layer of PVA glue or cover one side of the card with double-sided sticky tape
  3. Place the band on the student’s wrist.

The student will have both hands free to explore, pick and place their items onto their band

National Smile Month

The aim is to make someone smile. This could be through a compliment, telling a joke or an act of kindness.

  • Explore Mirrors Exploring mirrors teaching an awareness of your own reflection and how we convey emotion. (Point out safety when using mirrors) Explore a range of different shaped, sized and colours of mirrors.
  • Pull funny faces
  • Model wearing hats, wigs, glasses, and clothes so the student can change their look. Encourage the student to observe how their mouth changes shape as they talk.
  • Draw funny faces on balloons.
  • Smile!

May 24th 1844 – First Morse Code Message Sent

Dots and Dashes Artwork

Create artwork using different tools and materials to make dots and dashes

Dots: Bingo dabbers, cotton wool bud, fingerprints, paint brushes, pipettes, pom poms, sponges, stickers, vegetable printing, paint bubble wrap

Dashes: Chopsticks, cinnamon sticks, dried spaghetti, feather quill, pipe cleaners, rollers, roll balls/toy cars through paint, ribbon, rubber bands, straws, string

Other ideas:

  • Spray paint through card templates/stencils
  • Colour through the hole in an old cd
  • Play dot-to-dot

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Just Released!


This comprehensive teaching pack includes ‘Elephants’, a fully resourced, step by step multisensory story, a case study, plus themed, sensory ideas, and activities aimed at supporting the five areas of the engagement model, creativity, independence, building communication skills, and supporting other areas of learning linking to curriculum subjects and topics.

Perfect for students (aged 3-19) following pre-formal/sensory, semi-formal or formal pathways, and EYFS to Year 1 students in mainstream education.

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