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Adaptive Umbrella

    Creator: Jen Taggart and Ed Niemchak

    Date Updated: January 4, 2023


    The Adaptive Umbrella blog shares resources about accessible library programming and services. The blog provides different programming guidelines for sensory storytimes and other ideas for creating an accessible library environment. Libraries should check out these resources when planning their children’s programming.

    The information in this resource was summarized from the Adaptive Umbrella blog.

    Quick Facts

    The sensory storytime ideas (virtual and in-person) are built around different storybooks, including the materials you should pass out, song(s) to sing, crafts related to the storybook, and much more. We’ve summarized the different components of creating sensory story times below.

    Creating Sensory Storytime Programming Guidelines

    First, begin with a theme and then a storybook. Once you have selected a theme for your sensory storytime program (e.g., A season, a holiday, an activity, etc.), choose the storybook(s). Storybook examples on the Adaptive Umbrella blog include:

    • Scarecrow, Scarecrow, What Do You See? by Lisa Erwin
    • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
    • How Do You Take a Bath? by Kate McMullan
    • Hooray for Birds! by Lucy Cousins
    • The House that Zack Built by Alison Murray
    • Night Owl by Toni Yuly
    • Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

    After selecting your theme and storybook, you can begin to plan the activities and materials for your storytime.

    • Select the materials you want to hand out to attendees. Several tactile materials (balls, stuffed animals, apples, puppets, etc.) should be used at various times throughout the program.
      • Combine items with a rhyme, poem, and/or song discussing the items or the theme. For example, the blog planned an activity where they passed out star finger puppets combined with the rhyme “4 Little Stars.”
      • Pass out items during the story to support the narrative or theme. For example, one of the sensory storytimes passed out different coloured leaves and twigs while reading Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre.
    • Plan out “mindful” activities. This can include stretching (for people in a seated, standing, and lying down position) and/or deep breathing exercises.
    • Plan an activity for the end of your sensory storytime. Examples from the blog include:
      • Play with animal shapes/figurines and explore the sounds they make.
      • Provide blocks so the kids can build a house.
      • Finger painting.
      • Create an apple tree with construction paper.

    Visit the Adaptive Umbrella blog.


    Taggart, J., & Niemchak, E. (2016). Adaptive Umbrella. Retrieved January 4, 2023, from