Stories with Props

By Activity Bank on Oct 30, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Story time can be a meaningful activity if children are exposed to new ideas, words and concepts. For many children with visual and multiple disabilities, however, even simple stories may be incomprehensible because they can’t see the drawings or because the subject matter is too removed from their own realm of experience. This activity helps students to understand stories through the use of real objects. Lessons include English Language Arts and Social Skills.

For more information, see also Story Boxes.


A variety of real objects from the story, objects that will demonstrate rough or smooth, wet or dry, etc. Keep in mind that small plastic representations of items will not be meaningful at first to a child who has visual and multiple handicaps. Students may learn to understand symbolic representation, but until then try to use real objects to illustrate the stories.


  • Select a simple story and read it ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the sequence, the concepts involved and the vocabulary. Adapt the story, if necessary, so that students may find it more meaningful. For example, substitute the names of the students in the class or the name of your town for names in the story.
  • Read the story aloud using real objects to illustrate and reinforce concepts in the story. For example, if a person in the story is wearing a hat, bring in a real hat and let students take turns putting it on. If something is described as hot or cold, bring in water bottles to show students the difference. If the story mentions big or little, heavy or light, select items which can help illustrate the meaning of these concepts.


Help the students to write their own stories about familiar events in their lives.

Hint: Try to use concrete materials to explain new concepts and new vocabulary to students. Provide them with as much hands-on experience as possible to broaden their understanding of the world.



Read more about: Social Skills