We chatted to Sensory Practitioner Natalya Martin about new digital project My Sensory Adventures.  

Hi Natalya – could you explain a bit more about what My Sensory Adventures involves? My Sensory Adventures is a really exciting, new digital project of sensory activities people can do at home. Starting in October, new videos will be released each month to explore the
world through the four ancient elements: Water, Earth, Wind and Fire. There will be a messy and taste-safe activity, a non-messy activity as well as a Sensory Sounds video with original songs inspired by the monthly theme. All the activities have been designed to be as sustainable and low-cost as possible, with a focus on using household items and recycled
materials. Parents and carers can access the resources from Carbon Theatre’s website where they can also sign up to become a ‘Sensory Explorer’ to receive more resources and tips and be the first to know when each video is released. We’ve been really lucky to secure funding from the Margaret Giffen fund to create and deliver packs to 40 households in Kettering and Corby to run alongside our digital videos for
My Sensory Adventures. These packs will go out in October, November, December and January and will contain ingredients that you will need to complete the activities for Water, Wind, Earth and Fire. Another wonderful thing is that in spring 2021 we are going to be offering two free, virtual training sessions for parents and carers wishing to create their own
experiences inspired by the My Sensory Adventures themes and activities!

How did the concept for the project come about? The idea for My Sensory Adventures came from re-thinking some plans we had about
developing our local audiences who love sensory experiences. When making SEA GIRL,which was a show about sailing around the world, we loved the ideas we developed for sensory ways to explore storms, sailing and traveling to new places. So, when lockdown started, we began to think about how we could still reach people and help them create
experiences to enjoy at home. I got to work with Courtenay, who is the brains behind Carbon Theatre, and we started to think of ways we could provide content for people who explored the world in a sensory way.
We began thinking up new activities that would be low-cost, easy to do and enjoyable whilst also connected with exploring the world. We came up with the themes – Water, Earth, Wind and Fire – and began playing with ideas.

How do you hope that My Sensory Adventures will help parents, children and carers? As we’re entering another lockdown, it’s darker, colder and there are less opportunities to be outside, my hope is that My Sensory Adventures can bring a little bit of light and joy into
people’s homes, for both children and adults. Children are having a really difficult time at the moment too, which I think lots of people forget. Their experience of the world may not be as playful as it was before, and opportunities for play, I believe, have such great benefits for
children’s mental health and wellbeing.

The project as a whole is fantastic to be a part of, but there are two things I’m most excited about! Firstly the packs. I think it’s great to be producing digital content, but we also have to be aware that some people don’t have access to the digital world, or may be experiencing digital poverty. To be able to send packs of materials and instructions directly to someone’s
door without them having the worry of not being able to get online is really important to me – and I hope going forward, if we’re lucky enough to receive funding, we can do more of this.

Second is being able to provide the training sessions for parents or carers! We’ll be doing these on Zoom with the option to join via phonecall for those without computer access. Sometimes when we make digital content, as artists we just expect people to be confident and comfortable recreating these sessions or experiences at home but for a lot of people, the thought of this is very intimidating. I think running these sessions will not only help with people’s confidence in creating and delivering sensory experiences at home, but it will also give people the tools to perhaps even create their own content and be creative within their family or bubble.

What kind of activities can people get involved with? Without giving too much away, each month there will be the choice of two activities: one
messy/taste safe and one non-messy. Each of these activities are based around our monthly themes, Water, Earth, Wind and Fire. Water sessions have already been released! The activities include frozen jelly and oil water bags… but I’ll let you have a watch of the videos to see the full fun. We have our original songs too to help create the atmosphere and
enhance the experience at home as well! The songs were created by Therese Ramstedt and Knut Olav Rygnestad and are truly a joy to listen too. The next videos to be released are Earth themed!

How can people find out more about the project and be involved with it? The best way to be the first to see the digital content, is to sign up to be a sensory explorer via the carbon theatre website. Which you can do here:
https://www.carbontheatre.org.uk/my-sensory-adventures If you’d like to request a free pack for you or someone else living in Kettering or Corby then visit here. We’ll also be updating the My Sensory Adventures webpage and our social media platforms, with more information about the training sessions closer to the time.

By Emma Clarendon