Creating a multi sensory “Undersea Challenge”

Creating a multi sensory “Undersea Challenge”


The ‘Undersea’ challenge is a the basis of a multi sensory session involving number, texture, shape and colour. You can use as much or as little technology as you wish, but many of the “props” are low tech ideas or objects. Try this in a sensory room, classroom, hall or home depending on how big you want it to be. But remember, it can be just as much fun with one person. Each short activity can also be a standalone activity – like reading and exploring just one page of a book!


Begin by explaining that you’re taking a trip to the beach to find out more about fish and life undersea! Set the scene – play the sound effect of waves or some soft sea shanty music.


“How many fish? Look and see! Let’s count them together we’ll find its … 3!”

Use a laundry basket with three plastic fish – make this really exciting by using glow-in-the-dark fish! Shine a UV torch onto the fish to make them glow more brightly.  Pass the basket around and slowly reveal and explore the three fishy items you have in there. Alternatively, the 3 fish could live underneath an umbrella.  Can you find them with your torch? You could also create a ‘fish’ wheel for a Solar 250 projector or a fish video for a pico/data projector to add to the theme.


“The sea is blue, sometimes green. How many colours can be seen?”

For this activity you will need objects which change colour (try not to use the fibre optics as they come later.) The bubble tube is a good choice in the sensory room, or a sound to light coaster or bar in a classroom/small space. Can colour changing Meteorlight balls become a sea anemone? Use the app “Flashlight” for a simple iPad colour matching game with the bubble tube.  How about using an Underwater Light Starship to cast gently moving coloured light onto any light surface?


“In the deep blue cave, the octopus we did see. But how many legs has he or she?“

Here you will need a plastic/soft octopus, a picture of an octopus or an octopus on your iPad – use “Paint Sparkles Draw” so pupils can virtually finger paint their own! Could you create an octopus with different textures on each leg? Perhaps your octopus could live in a black ‘cave’ umbrella with dangling textured legs to explore? You are in a cave – do you need a torch? Making this a black umbrella would enable you to use florescent objects with a UV torch, making this a white umbrella would enable you to project sea images onto it.


“Fill the net it looks so bare. How many things can you put in there?”

For this you could back to the laundry basket or get yourself a real fishing net. A great one to use is the hanging storage net from IKEA. If you have lots of fishy things around the children or students could post the items in this net.


“The magic seaweed shining bright, you really can touch it because it won’t bite!”

The idea for this one is to do something with your fibre optics, if you don’t have fibre optics, try using Scoobies. Lay them over a beanbag to make a giant boulder on the seabed. You could even put them inside the cave ‘tent/umbrella’ for extra effect.


“Find fishy things to put in the wheel. Look really hard you may find an eel!”

For this one you need a wheel projector, like a solar 250. Making wheels is very easy, so put little bits of net and string in the wheel and then project these onto your magical umbrella.


“Flat fish, round fish, long fish, short fish. What shape will your fish be?”

Various activities would work well here to explore shape/colour/texture or number.  Dark paper/card fish painted using fluorescent paints will shine brightly under UV light in the sensory room.  Suspended from a rig or umbrella, these would be very effective individually or in number.  Perhaps these could be clothes pegged to a net, laying on the floor or hanging on the wall? Using projected images (sea/beach/Finding Nemo) either onto the net/umbrella/wall would add to the theme.  For art work to create in the sensory room/dark space, use shadow board and draw onto it with UV light, it’s instant and effective – brilliant for drawing your very own sea monster or making your very first mark. You could also use the card/paper fluoroescent fish on the shadow board and create a shadow shoal!  If you continue to use the sound of waves or sea shanties as background music – could you use a bluetooth speaker in a car wash mitt so that pupils could ‘feel’ the music too?  A wowee speaker would also do the same thing!


“Hear the whales and dolphins talk. Now its your turn to make them squawk!”

This can be great fun if you have an echo unit in your sensory room, however a small cheap echo mike would work just as well. Or find a box or a bin (clean) which will create echo’s.  Great to encourage vocalisation!


Finish by getting all the props together and having fun with all of them – or with just the props from the individual activity you have just completed.