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sensory play tray blog

Sensory Stories for Children and Teens – The Book!

Sensory Stories: A Practical Guide

Sensory Stories: A Practical Guide

Launch of New book: how to create your own sensory stories for children and teens with special educational needs

We’re really pleased to share the fantastic news that Joanna Grace, who we have worked with on several occasions and backed her Kickstarter campaign last year, has a book out very soon! Joanna is the name behind The Sensory Story Project and has done fantastic work for many years developing her project and her works for a wide range of people with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

We have talked about Sensory Stories in depth previously but couldn’t resist the opportunity to show off how amazing they are once again, especially as this book is due out in just a few days.

Sensory Stories Kickstarter

Back in May 2013, The Sensory Story Project successfully funded their Kickstarter campaign, gaining over £5,000 in funding. This money was put towards the development of a range of sensory stories that could be adapted and used in different environments for different disabled adults and children. The Kickstarter was a huge success and allowed Joanna to continue her work and keep writing and developing the stories which have provided so much for so many people.

We love that sensory stories are a fun, social way of enjoying storytelling that can be enjoyed by the whole family or classroom and that, if used with a bit of knowhow, can open up communication for people with profound disabilities. Joanna recommends sharing the stories on a one to one basis for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and adds how well the stories are suited to being presented on a Trabasack.

The Sensory Story Project: The Book

The Sensory Stories for Children and Teens with Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide book has been designed as a practical guide and is to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on the 28th of October (Amazon are currently open for advanced orders). The book begins with a simple explanation of what sensory stories are and expands considerably on this point, providing an indispensable guide for practitioners. Joanna provides an overview of the research backing for the stories, looking at the importance of sensory stimulation and narrative for cognitive development and inclusion.  There are chapters on how the stories can be used to support individuals with a wide range of needs, including those with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Communication difficulties, Memory problems, physical impairments and mental health difficulties. Joanna gives clear guidance on how to tell the stories to maximise their benefits for your story experiencer and gives useful ways to record progress and achievement. And of course the book has five new stories in it which should suit a range of interests and ages. Each story is supported with six lesson plans for schools who want to use the stories to facilitate learning, or for people to dip into if they want to do activities following on from sharing a story.

Sensory stories require imagination and are designed to delight the senses in a simple and effective way, as this example shows:


Rave Reviews already published

Although the book won’t be hitting the book shop shelves for a week or two, a few lucky folk have had the chance to take a sneak peak and positive reviews are already out there.

Flo Longhorn (Principal Consultant in Multisensory & special education author, great grandmother and beekeeper, and fellow backer of The Sensory Story Project) provided the forward for the book, saying in it: “This book tells a sensory story. It is for the seeker of sensory knowledge, looking for substantial ideas with which to plunge into new worlds of sensory story telling. Each chapter offers a wealth of ideas and knowledge including themes and ideas that could be placed at the core of a curriculum for special learners.”

James Gordon, an autism advocate and parent, has described the book as ‘vital reading for every special needs parent and teacher’. Gill Warren, the English coordinator at Sir Charles Parsons School, which provides care and education for pupils with severe learning difficulties and associated physical disabilities described it as ‘Take a pinch of glitter, a peck of spice, a splash of water, pebbles, a torch and noise makers; add the guiding spell of this book and we are ready. Through inspirational ideas, clearly and simply explained, Jo shows how everyone, including those with the most profound needs, can share and learn through the deep magic of stories. I wish this book had been around years ago when I first began teaching students with profound learning difficulties.’

With reviews so positive already published, we’re sure this book will have a profound influence on the wider special educational needs community.

Sensory Stories and Trabasack

Trabasack Sensory Stories

Sensory Story & Trabasack

We have worked with Joanna on several occasions and had the opportunity to hear all about how effective Sensory Stories can be.  As mentioned above sensory stories are best delivered one on one allowing the individual enjoying the story to interact and get involved with the story on their own terms. The picture above shows the Princess Esme story (one of the ones we backed the creation of) being told on a Trabasack – a perfect fit!

We are really looking forward to reading and using the book with our son Joe Sensory Stories for Children and Teens with Special Educational Needs: A Practical Guide’ and are sure it will be a big success.


Personal Message from Joanna

I am so excited that this book is being published. The initial aim of the Sensory Story Project was to create five stories. Without the project backers these stories could never have been created. When I finally finished them I wrote to all the backers liking their donation of funds to the project to a penny thrown in a wishing well. The project backers are an amazing group of people and organisation and I think we all have the same hopes and wishes for inclusion. I wondered in that message where the ripples from those coins might spread, and over the past year I’ve been staggered to find out just how far they roll. The Sensory Story Project has enabled so many people to be trained in how to use sensory stories, from Early Years Practitioners to people working in Adult Care. Sensory Stories to support postural care have been created and are being used as far away as Hong Kong. Practitioners from around the globe, most recently Portugal and New Zealand have been in touch to get support and advice for the people they support. In the summer Kensington Palace commissioned The Sensory Story Project to create a sensory tour of the King’s State Apartments, opening up the palace for people with learning disabilities, dementia and mental health difficulties. The Sensory Story Project has also been working with people who specialise in dementia care to create sensory life stories for people as they begin their journey into dementia. I couldn’t pick a favourite thing that’s happened since the launch, every day I wake up delighted that this is what I get to do. Certainly some of the most moving moments have been hearing feedback from people who have used the stories and opened up communication with individuals with profound disabilities. Next year I’ll be delivering training around the UK, I’m looking forward to each date. Sharing the stage with Flo Longhorn and Richard Hirstwood will be real pinch me moments for me, and in August I’m doing a whole weekend at a residential retreat centre, fabulously the Quakers are subsidising this course so that delegates will be able to have their bed and breakfast paid for and attend the whole course for a little over £200 I’m hoping that a real mix of people will attend, I might even bring my new little assistant – he’s proving very useful assessing what makes a high quality sight experience.

Joanna Grace's baby boy and her stories

Joanna has lots more information and many free resources at her website http://jo.element42.org/ Highly recommended!

What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay

What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay

Having a child staying in hospital for any reason is a difficult time but for children with disabilities it can be especially difficult. Chances are there are many instances of planned appointments and this at least gives you a chance to get organised and prepared.


As well as ensuring your child is as mentally prepared as possible you need to also ensure they’ve got all the things they need to feel as at home as possible. Packing for your child’s hospital stay needs to be thorough and meet their specific tastes and needs.

What to Pack

Packing falls into two categories: essentials and non-essentials. Many of the non-essentials may be things for comfort, to ease anxiety and make the stay uncomfortable. Having a clear idea of what you need for your child’s hospital stay will make the whole process of getting ready a bit less difficult.


The essential things your child is likely to need will include clothes and this post for adults staying in hospital is useful for advice. It recommends loose fitting comfortable clothes as it makes getting around the ward less difficult and more comfortable. Normal clothes are a great idea to help separate bed time from day time, even in hospital. This will depend on the reason for being in hospital too – if PJs are the way then that’s fine. Don’t forget sock and slippers too.

Hospital bedside with child using multi sensory unit

Ask about the sensory toys available, you might be surprised

If your child wears glasses of course they’ll be needed, along with any prescription medication along with a list of all supplied. In most instances the hospital will happily administer their stock but you should always have yours in hand in case this isn’t so.


Trabasack for Child's Hospital Stay

Handy Trabasack as a bed tray

Non-essentials will be very personal to your child but think this great list is a good start. They have some key non-essentials which you could call essential such as straws and even drinking cups but this is down to personal taste. Children with disabilities may find hospital stays more traumatic than most so keeping the area as fun and entertaining as possible is a good start. Bring along any favourite toys and don’t forget your handy Trabasack with its tray surface ideal for propping up games consoles or playing games on. For comfort it makes sense to bring soft or cuddly toys and perhaps as a special treat for being so brave throughout the stay you could consider a pillow pet. Portable DVD players, Kindles and iPads are also worth considering if your child has a favourite device.

Hydrant for Child's Hospital Stay

Innovative Hydrant drinking system

For eating and drinking purposes you should definitely ensure you pack a Hydrant – they’re ideal for ensuring, where able, your child can keep hydrated if lifting or accessing regular drinking cups is difficult. The Hydrant can be clipped to the hospital bed and be accessed via its innovative straw. For comfort and convenience you may want to pack children’s cutlery too. Keeping your child comfortable is also essential whilst in hospital. Of course they’ll provide blankets and pillows but many of our Twitter followers told us it’s much better to take your own and this will add a further touch of familiarity which your child may welcome. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders may benefit from bringing their weighted blanket along to ensure a good night’s sleep is possible.

If you have one, a familar sensory story can be brought along too.

How to prepare your Child for their Stay

Having the right stuff in your bag is one thing but it also important to ensure your child is ready. This can be very difficult with children who have a learning disability but key to ensuring everything goes as well as possible is preparation. The overriding feeling will be to try and not talk about the hospital stay at all but this can be the worst possible action. Talking to your child and telling them what will happen, especially those who will be anaesthetised, will make the procedure much less difficult for all involved. It’s very easy to think your child has a full understanding of their condition and what it entails but this isn’t often true and putting things in simple, basic terms to help them understand really helps. You could put together a social story, read books about their favourite characters going into hospital or have a chat about their worries. Reassuring them at every step will help you and them feel better and less concerned.

Many hospitals are more than happy to allow a pre-admission visit to the hospital so your child can be familiarised with the area and may even meet the staff they’ll be seeing on their first day in hospital. All these markets can make a huge difference when the day comes around.

Age will make a difference to when you speak to your child. Those who are approximately 2-3 years (taking into account development delays) should be told 2-3 days before the event whilst children aged 4-7 will feel more assured and prepared with up to a week to prepare.

Taking your child into hospital is a traumatic experience but keeping this information in mind can make it less stressful and easier on your child.

We did a similar post with adults in mind on our sister blog at wheelchairlaptrays.com

Homemade Mirror Cube Sensory Toy

The Original Softie Mirror Exploratory

The Original Softie Mirror Exploratory

Make Your Own Mirror Cube Sensory Play Area

Homemade toys are amongst the best for your kids as they give you the chance to bring together everything they love best. More than that – they’re affordable.

This post is a quick tutorial of how to make your own version of the Softie Mirror Exploratory style toy, great for a wide range of sensory experiences. The original toy retails at around £69.99 but with this tutorial you should be able to make it for less than £30, and you can make yours much bigger too!

We found this innovative idea on the Facebook Group: Special Needs Equipment ~ Buy Sell Swap and we thought it was too good not to share. Mirrors are an important tool for helping your child’s cognitive development, recognising themselves and understanding angles and reflections, as well as being great fun!

What you need

To make this toy you’ll need:

Putting the fun toy together is quite straightforward and you can be sure the kids will love it.

Building your Sensory Mirror Toy

There are three key steps to creating your sensory mirror toy:

  1. Glue all the puzzle/floor mat pieces together to create an open-faced box shape
  2. Add a frame to the edges by gluing the thin pieces of wood – to reinforce the toy’s structure
  3. Glue each mirror to the inside of the box covering the foam base and sides

The finished result should look something like this:

Homemade Mirror Toy

Homemade Mirror Toy

Of course you can add other things in too – if you choose to make a larger toy you could use more floor mat pieces, more mirrors and make a huge version for lying down in – creating an even more enjoyable sensory experience.

Ways to Play

There are many ways you and your child can enjoy this exploratory toy. It’s a great place for them to lie gently down on a pillow and look into the mirrors. It’s also great for imaginative play as you pop a toy or two into the window area of the toy and your children play with both the toy and its reflection. The mirrors internal surfaces will all reflect back and so even fairy lights and flashing toys would be great fun.

Once you’ve had a go at this toy you’ll probably be inspired to try others and we’ve shown off some other homemade toy ideas before.


Sensory Play Ideas for Children with Disabilities

Sensory Play Ideas for Children with Disabilities

Sensory play is all about your imagination. The possibilities can be endless when you’re finding new ways to introduce sensory play time but if you’re looking for new ideas we’ve got plenty of them. Previously we’ve looked at gloops, water and ice and even homemade toys and today we’ve got some more ingenious sensory play ideas.

Frozen Finger-paints

Sensory Play Ideas: Frozen Finger Paints

Fun Finger Paints

Create frozen art with simple but effective frozen paints. This idea is perfect for summer.

You will need:

  • Small pots (yoghurt pots or similar)
  • Shaving Foam
  • Food Colouring
  • Glitter

Squirt shaving foam into each of your pots until it’s two thirds full. Add some food colours and mix well and add in your glitter last. Put the pots in the freezer. When you’re ready to play bring out the pots and let them defrost for 5 minutes or so – this makes painting easier. Use them to create fantastic art work and fun paintings.


Stretchy Slime Balls

For children who love to experience different textures and wouldn’t mind a dip in the classic children’s telly gunge. Pull it and stretch it in any direction!

You will need:

  • A bottle of glitter glue
  • 120ml of boiling water
  • Tablespoon of corn flour
  • A small amount of cold water

Mix together the flour and cold eater to make a paste. Measure 120ml of boiled water into a jug and add in the corn flour paste. Let it cool. Once cool empty he whole tube of glitter glue into a bowl and add the water. Mix with your hands (let the little ones help) until the stretchy slime feels right. Mould into a ball and if you store in a ziplock bag it will last a whole week.

Rainbow Ice Play

Sensory Play Ideas: Rainbow Ice Play

Fun Ice Moulds

A fantastic combination of touch and visual play. This sensory play idea gives you the chance to play with ice and water, with a difference.

You will need:

  • Ice cube trays
  • Poster paint or food colouring
  • PVA Glue or Flour (optional)
  • Water tray or box
  • Trabasack

Fill your ice cube tray with a few drops of paint or food colouring to brighten them up. For opaque cubes add in PVA glue or flour too. Once they’re frozen get out your Trabasack (don’t forget your non-slip waterproof mat) and pop your water tray or box on top. Simple and fun you can plop the rainbow cubes into the water and watch the colours mix. You can also choose a fun-shaped ice cube mould for make it even more fun.

Mouldable Fluff

If messy play is the name of the game then this sensory experiment will have everyone in stitches and completely covered in fluff!

You will need:

  • Large bag of corn flour
  • 200ml can of shaving foam
  • Powder Paint
  • Mixing Bowl

Empty the full bag of corn flour into the mixing bowl and mix in the shaving foam a bit at a time. This will make a rough but textures mouldable fluff. If you choose a scented shaving foam you can add another sensory element. For a bit more excitement add a tablespoon of any powder paint for a splash of colour.

Sensory Balloons

Sensory Play Ideas: Sensory Balloons

Colourful Balloons

Balloons without the bang, well some of the time at least. Balloons are a great sensory play idea as they can be filled with absolutely anything.

You will need:

  • Some coloured balloons
  • A range of fillings – rice, talcum powder, flower, water and shower gel are fun
  • A funnel

Put your balloon nozzle over the funnel and choose your first filling, then add your second and then your third. You can combine a range of filling in one balloons and mix and match in others to give a fantastic tactile sensory experience. Your shower gel and talc balloons will also be fantastically smelly.


Sensory play is always fun and the more ideas you can incorporate the better. Try out some of our new ideas and if you have any other please comment below and let us know.

Photo credits:
1 –  Attribution Some rights reserved by LearningLark
2 –  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by #Justin
3 – Attribution Some rights reserved by Accretion Disc


Toy Buying Guide for Disabled Children

Toy Buying Guide for Disabled Children

There are many things to take into consideration when you’re buying toys for disabled children, including their personal capabilities and the specification of the toy in question. We have previously talked about making  your own sensory toys, but what are the questions to ask when buying them?

Is the toy multisensory?
Does it flash, make noise or offer different textures? Does it have a unique scent or structure?

Can the toy be activated easily?
Will your child be able to play with the toy independently? Is it easy to trigger?

Does the toy appeal?
Does it tie-in with popular TV shows or characters?  Is it something children can relate to?

Is the toy age appropriate?
Is it designed for the right age group? Does it fit both mentally and physically with your child’s abilities and age

Does the toy allow for self-expression?
Is it designed to allow for creativity and decision making? Does it give your child chance to encounter different media sources?

These are just a few points you need to consider as well as adjustability and durability too.

Sensory Toys for Disabled Children

Flashing, Musical Tambourine

Sensory toys appeal to many of the body’s sense and are great for disabled children who may rely on some senses more than others. Sensory toys can be designed to focus on a single sense such as sight or sound but often aim to trigger responses from a few. Pictured is a fun flashing tambourine, which both flashes and makes musical noises and is a great example of a sensory toy. Others include fun bubble machines and colourful flashing toys such as this Colour Changing Egg.

Switch Toys for Disabled Children

Inflatable Switch-Adapted R2D2

Children who require some assistance with accessing toys can use specialised switches. Switches mean that toys become easily accessible and fun to use. Switch adapted toys can be purchased from specialist retailers in most instances and allow regular toys to be enjoyed by children with disabilities. We’ve recently see switch adapted talking teddies and bongo drums as well as this fantastic switch adapted inflatable R2D2 (pictured). Locating switch-adapted toys can be more difficult than others but they’re worth the additional work for the increased usability and entertainment factors.

If your child uses switches, you may want to visit Switchmounting.com to get a free pdf guide to using switches for sensory play, gaming and communication.

Musical Toys for Disabled Children

Soft Chime Garden Sensory Toy

Musical toys are great fun for children of any age and although they might drive parents a little crazy, it’s more than worth it for the smiles and laughter they create. The range of accessible musical toys on the market is vast, whether children can use them independently or with support. We recommend this fab Conga Drum and Rainbomaker. Pictured is the charming Lamaze Soft Chime Garden which is popular with children of all ages and makes a range of different musical sounds with the slightest touch. It works very well with the trabasack media mount as it can be held at different angles for different children’s needs.

Trabasack for Toys

Your Trabasack lap tray is the perfect surface for accessing musical, sensory and switch toys for disabled children. As the photographs show it can be used for a range of different toys and

Trabasack Curve, Media Mount and Dinosaur Toy

the Trabasack Media Mount is perfect for holding toys in the ideal position to maximise play and entertainment value.


Trabasack Xmas Special Bundle Offer

We’re pleased to announce we’re currently offering a Curve Connect bundle deal, perfect for use as a sensory play tray with all the accessories you need including a Media Mount, non-slip mat and additional hook tapes for securing toys in place, at £44.95, this saves over £30 on the usual price of all the items combined and will help your child enjoy more from their toys this xmas!

Click for more info on using the Trabasack Media Mount as a Toy Holder

Have you heard of Steps Charity?

Have you heard of Steps Charity?

Steps Logo

Steps Charity loans sensory toys to children of all ages and abilities. They have a postal lending library and also adapt toys by request for switch use.

Steps Charity is a registered UK organisation that believes that every day can be a play day for children with additional needs who cannot play independently. They work with mainstream toys to adapt them to individual children’s needs, creating uniquely designed toys perfect for your child. These toys are generally operated by an external switch that the Steps team personally develop to meet your child’s needs. For example, for a child with limited dexterity, they may create a switch that only needs to be lightly touched or perhaps one that can be blown or sucked.

The best thing about the work at Steps do is that they try to adapt any toy you want. If your child is a mad Rory the Racing Car fan, you can tell the Steps Charity the details of the toy you have in mind and they can find out whether it’s something that can actually adapt and then begin working for you, once you send them the toy of course. Steps are committed to focussing on what your child CAN DO and working with their skills to create a toy which they can fully enjoy and develop with. Every day can be play day with the help of Steps.

Sensory Toy Lending Library

A Steps Charity Sensory Switch

As well as regular switches, Steps can provide special sensory switches which are known to be great for offering multi-sensory stimulation for children with PMLD and also children who have significant hearing or visual impairments. As the picture shows, these switches are extremely bright and tactile, with music, lights and vibrations. They are designed as sensory toys in their own right but can also be linked to a specific external toy and used separately when required. The technology involved really is special and is something that many children already have benefitted from.

Steps Charity has a Facebook page and they are always looks for membership support to back up their campaign because they believe that every child deserves play time and we agree. The Trabasack team have a personal debt to Steps Charity. The co-founder’s son, Joe, has Dravet Syndrome and PMLD and has benefited from many years membership of the library, he has enjoyed many different toys that have been adapted for switch use.

 Visit the Steps Charity website


Play Dough Recipes: Sensory Toys for your Trabasack Play Tray

Make your own gloops and doughs for sensory play

There are endless possibilities for creating an exciting and enjoyable sensory play day for your child. Utilising your Trabasack Sensory Play Tray as a stable and secure surface to work from, you can really create anything you want. We previously looked at playing with water and ice, here we’ve collected some fun and safe ideas for creating your own dough. Fantastic for squelching, squashing and even (in some cases) tasting. Creating a range of doughs with different consistencies and properties is a great way of introducing different textures and feelings to your child and your Trabasack is the perfect platform to begin from.

Preparing your Trabasack

Use your non-slip Trabasack mat to keep the surface clean

This could get messy so remember to use your Trabasack non-slip mat to keep it clean and fresh. The mat wipes clean and if you do have any spillages remember you can simply put your play tray in the washing machine and it’ll be like new within a short spin. Of course, ensure the Trabasack is safely secured to your child’s buggy, wheelchair or safely around their waist and then the fun can begin.

Preparing your Doughs

There are literally hundreds of dough recipes out there and we thought we’d get together a few that are quite different from each other, to give the widest range of textures, colours and different sensory experiences:

Clean Mud: 1 bar of soap, 1 roll of toilet paper, 4 litres of water (makes a lot)
Layer the toilet paper in a tub, grate the soap on top and then add the water, mix up, leave overnight and you can squish and squash to your heart’s content in the morning

Fruity Putty: 1 packet of jelly powder, 250g flour, 1 tbsp cooking oil, 2 tbsp hot water – cook this all up in a pan to create a colourful, jelly ball of putty

Corn Flour Dough: 125g corn flour, 125ml warm water, 1 tbsp natural/baby oil – cook this up in a pan, choosing an oil with a strong flavour to add the additional aroma to the sensory experience. This produces a shiny, slick dough.

Play Time

With these three doughs, with their very different consistencies you can create shapes, balls, patties, whatever you want and your child can feel the different properties and enjoy the whole experience fully. These are just three of many doughs out there but they create a great range of different sensory experiences including the pleasant aroma of the corn flour dough, the sticky mess of the clean mud and of course, the bright colours of the fruit putty. We wouldn’t recommend you eat any of these products but they won’t cause you any harm and if you’re more interested in edible doughs, there are plenty out there.

There is a useful video with another recipe for coloured doughs here:

Using your Trabasack play tray as a base for exploring different sticky substances is a great way of enjoying your sensory time and it’s so quick and easy it’s really worth giving a go. For those of you who want to cheat, click here!


Sensory Play Tray Uses: Water and Ice

Free ideas for sensory play: Water and Ice

We know about the value of sensory play for children with special educational needs and have looked at homemade sensory toys in another article. We will now look a more free ideas for entertaining your child. Your Trabasack Sensory Play Tray can be used innovatively to introduce many different sensory experiences to your children and it’s perfectly designed to allow for fun and messy play as well as more scripted and controlled sessions. Why not consider using your Trabasack to introduce your child to water and ice and experience the differences?

Water and Ice Play

Trabasack Non-Slip Mat protects your play tray

Utilising a Trabasack Non-Slip Mat, you can protect your Trabasack’s soft surface and ensure it is secured around your child’s waist, to their buggy or to their wheelchair, wherever you choose to play. Once everything’s in place the fun can begin.

What you’ll need:

  • Ice Cubes
  • Small Tub of Water
  • Crushed Ice

You could also add in winter themed or water themed toys such as small boats or plastic toy animals.

Introducing each element individually, guide your child to feel and experience the differences between the three substances. Loads of fun can be had splashing in the water, trying to pick up ice cubes and you could even make mini snowballs out of the crushed ice. The secure Trabasack surface means you won’t have to worry about anything getting dropped. You could create a snowy winter scene with crushed ice mountains or try floating the ice cubes in your tub of water. The fun that can be had with ice and water is really vast and it’s a great way of introducing a range of different sensory experiences to your child.

Benefits of Water and Ice Play

Investigate the properties of ice

If you’re considering using water and ice in an educational setting, you can show children the differences between the two substances and give them the opportunity to feel these differences in their own time and it’s like having your own water play table in a safe, reachable difference. The Trabasack surface is protected by its non-slip mat and you can be sure your child will be having tons of fun and experiencing something beneficial to their development, understanding and of course entertainment.

Your Trabasack play tray really is an extremely flexible accessory which you can use in many ways to enhance and further your child’s sensory experiences.

How to secure a DVD player to your child’s play tray

Securing a DVD player to a child’s tray

Trabasack fan Evan McMillan loves to watch the F1!

If you are looking for a DVD player tray read on!

If you have a child with additional needs or mobility problems, then there occasions where you may wish for them to have a some time enjoying a DVD or computer game by themselves. Maybe on a long journey in the car or just when you have temporarily run out of games to play and things to do! Most children enjoy watching their favourite programmes and films many times over but adults do not always enjoy the repetition quite as much!

To solve this problem many parents have now bought portable DVD players or use netbooks, Ipads or laptops for their children. So that when the child wants to put on a DVD or pre-loaded film and have some relaxation time, they can enjoy it without the rest of the family joining in. If your child has a trabasack, then they have their own private cinema space right in front of them.

Portable DVD players are great as they mean you can put on whatever film or game your child wants, plug in their earphones and they can really enjoy all the sensory sound effects. It can be difficult to use a DVD player if your child has mobility issues and is a wheelchair user as you need an accessible level surface. Your child would need to stay in one position or use a fixed tray that are often heavy or difficult to get on and off.


As the screen of portable DVD players are quite small, they need to be viewed close up. Without a tray or accessible table surface it can be very difficult to watch one balanced on your knee! Potential problems with this are that they can overheat and malfunction or even burn your child’s legs. There is also a real danger of the expensive and delicate DVD or tablet being dropped!

Using a Trabasack as a DVD player tray


This is where Trabasack comes in. A Trabasack is a brilliant lap tray that can be easily attached to any buggy or wheelchair and can be used for playtime, snack time and also movie time! Once you have your Trabasack, securing your child’s DVD player in place is very simple.

How to simply secure the DVD player to your Trabasack

With a Trabasack Curve equipped with the ‘Connect’ surface you can easily attach the DVD player with no trouble at all, just follow these simple steps:

Trabasack is being used for a gaming console. Attached with side straps at the armrests.

  1. Attach your Trabasack Connect Curve to your child’s wheelchair, either with ‘side straps’ supplied or by putting the long strap around your child’s waist or the back of the chair.
  2. Place the rough velcro or hook tape on the bottom of your portable DVD player
  3. Place your portable DVD player in position on the tray so your child can see what they need to see clearly and comfortably
  4. Press Play!

As you can see it is a very simple process but garners great results! With the DVD player secured in place you needn’t worry about it getting damaged or falling off and your child can continue to watch their films happily without having to strain or stretch! Many children with special needs have to take long taxi journeys to school and there is no reason why they cannot use a DVD player or laptop during these trips too.

Trabasack is a truly brilliant invention for furthering the happiness of children in buggies and wheelchairs and allows them more independence and enjoyable playing time.

Homemade Sensory Toys

Thanks to Gemma Conyard who sent us this lovely picture of her son with a red trimmed Trabasack Curve Connect. “My son with his Trabasack curve connect, I made him textured activity discs to keep him occupied while out and about :-)” She has put discs of material with different textures and colours so he can explore them. The sensory discs are a brilliant idea, being lightweight and easy to put inside the trabasack, they are great for children travelling in their buggies. I love the way she has put a little clacking frog in the middle so that it makes a click when he presses it!

A trabasack Curve Connect with sensory discs

Thank you Gemma Conyard who sent in this great pic "My son with his Trabasack curve connect, I made him textured activity discs to keep him occupied while out and about :-)"


Trabasack Connect is very good for attaching toys and materials as it has a soft fabric covering that sticks to ‘hook’ or rough velcro tape. I expect each of the sensory discs has a small piece of ‘hook’ tape so that it can be repositioned around the trabasack tray top.

Trabasack was created by a mum designing something that helped her child play so we love it when we see people creating toys to use with it.

You can use it to attach all sorts of homemade sensory toys. Here is a sensory toy that we made for our son last year. It doesn’t include a picture of our Joe as he had quite gruesome chicken pox at the time!

Trabasack with homemade sensory toys

Trabasack with homemade sensory toys


As you can see, we used some plastic bottles, some masking tape (orange and neon!), plastic flowers, tin foil and some wind chimes.

There are lots of things around the house that can be used as sensory play toys. You can experiment with anything with textures, bright colours or that make interesting noises, as long as it is safe for your child. If you enjoy crafts, doing it can be a lot of fun.


Homemade sensory toys on a Trabasack Curve Connect, including plastic bottles with tinfoil, plastic flowers, wooden block, a bamboo arch with windchimes

Homemade sensory toys on a Trabasack Curve Connect, including plastic bottles with tinfoil, plastic flowers, wooden block, a bamboo arch with windchimes

When you have experimented please do send your pictures to us at info(at)trabasack.co.uk Any pictures showing homemade toys on a trabasack will win one of our fun Trabasack ‘Manifesto’ T Shirts.




Our Trabasack 'Manifesto' T-Shirts

Our Trabasack 'Manifesto' T-Shirts. The slogans were sent in by fans on our facebook page and include: Bag a table anywhere, Sing, Grow together, Sow, Sew, Global family, Love your neighbour, Level up a wonky world, Make music, Smile, Share, Make art not war, Access all areas, WAKE UP, Free hugs, Make things happen, Straight from the hip, Express yourself, Read more, Good as gold, Play games


This article first appeared on the Trabasack website here: Homemade Sensory Toys