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Sensory Touch Boxes


A fun way of exploring opposite words through touch. Discover the feel of different plants in your garden.

  • Estimated time: minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, PSHE

Learning objectives

  • Use the sense of touch to investigate an area outside
  • Understanding opposites in language
  • Matching objects to words through touch
  • Describing a collection of objects 


Create some strips of papers with two opposite ‘touch’ words. One word at one end and the opposite word at the other end.
These could include: hard and soft, stiff and bendy, natural and man-made, rough and smooth, wet and dry, prickly and fluffy.

Laminating them makes them last longer!


  • Egg boxes
  • Laminated opposite word paper strips
  • Access to an outside natural area


  • Repeat the activity using the sense of smell - scratch 'n' sniff!
  • Prepare 'sticky strips' of card with a section of double sided tape and write a secret word or description of materials to be collected on the back. 
  • Examples could include soft, rough, smaller than my thumb, tiny, beautiful, miniature, strange, exquisite, or any particular colour etc.

Step by step

  1. Introduce the idea of investigting the natural environment with touch
  2. Demonstrate the words 'tickly' and 'prickly' by selecting a soft grass and a more ‘prickly’ grass from the garden
  3. Close your eyes while someone else runs the grasses over your arm to see if you can tell which one is tickly and which is prickly
  4. Hand out egg boxes and strips of paper that have two opposite ‘touch’ words, to each child or group of children
  5. Collect 6 objects linked to one of the words  in one half of the egg box, and 6 more  linked to the opposite word in the other half. Keep this a secret! 
  6. Once the touch box is completed, trade with each other. Explore the new touch box and guess which opposite ‘touch' words have been collected

Hints & tips

  • It is a good idea to begin this activity with a discussion on being respectful to nature, and why we should only take small samples of living items
  • Choosing an area with lots of variety is key to a successful activity
  • Use the collection as a starting point for writing poetry
  • Introduce the concept of a 'Box of specialness'. Read the poem The Magic Box, by Kit Wright. Each person puts something into the ' Magic Box'  from their collection


We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards