Other self led resources

White boy with short brown hair wearing a blue top exploring portrait of a queen through a view finder


Self-led resources are often trails handed out for children to find certain objects or clues around a museum. For all families, these help a child to engage, focus and slow the visit down for adults in the group so can be a useful tool. For SEND children and young people, it may be more appropriate to make this a picture led or Symbol based trail and use clear language, short sentences and single questions per sentence. If making an observation statement, make one observation per sentence.

The trails may also work well if themed, so a trail for texture, colour, shape, material or function. For instance, a trail about animals –  “How many animals can you find here today? Look closely at all the things you can see. Can you find a cat?”

You can also add Symbols such as Widget PECs or photographs as examples to aid non text reading children.

Here’s an example of a trail created with young SEND adults in partnership with The Museum of English Rural Life. They have linked it to a map of the museum to show where the trail starts.

MakesSENseYellow (Pdf)

MakesSENseMakatonBlue (Pdf)

MakesSENseGreen (Pdf)

How to make a SEND-friendly gallery explorers’ box

Here’s some fun ideas for creating a SEND-friendly explorers’ box.

These hands-on and multi-sensory resources are perfect for SEND schools and families to explore your site and objects on display.

Start with an interesting box or bag to store the resources in. Or include a small selection in an explorer backpack, bag or belt which can be carried around during a visit?

Include equipment that will help visitors investigate items more closely or in unusual ways, or to document a visit.

Participants might wear items of explorer costume while taking part.

If you know a talented illustrator, why not work with them to create a fun explorer map of a gallery? Or ask children to create their own, including a selection of favourite objects to discover!

Here’s some things you might include:

  • Explorer costume
  • Explorer map (of gallery or museum)
  • Rubberised binoculars
  • Large child-safe magnifying glasses
  • Big mirrors (with rubberised edges)
  • Child friendly torches (for highlighting items in display cases)
  • Picture-frame viewers (for framing an object for drawing)
  • Digital camera
  • High quality sketching materials
  • Measuring tape
  • Lightbox
  • Microscope linked to screen (for showing small objects in close-up)