I am a BIG fan of hands on activities! Sometimes I think I need the hands-on experience more than my speechies lol. Sensory bins have been a great way for me to incorporate speech and language goals in an engaging way. Today, I wanted to share how to make your own “I spy” sensory bin. Plus, I have lots of great ways to incorporate language to share too (also, there may be a free printable involved).
How to make the “I Spy” Sensory Bin
I bought a 15 quart sized plastic container at Target (make sure to get the one with the lid that has clasps). I own two plastic containers. I keep all my filler materials in gallon sized plastic bags. That way I can easily change out fillers and materials without having to buy more plastic bins! Next, I bought some jumbo sized straws at the dollar store. Just cut them up with a pair of scissors and there is your filler. Then, I bought some fun trinkets at this etsy store called Dinky Doodads.
You can all sorts of random little toy items in the set. It has a wide variety, so I was very pleased with all the times of items I received. That’s all you have to do to make this bin!
How to use the “I Spy” Sensory Bin In Speech Therapy
First, I plan it out! Each time I make a new sensory bin, I take some time to think about goals I could target as well as verbs, vocabulary and related books that I could pair with the bin. I am storing these planner sheets in plastic protectors in a binder. This way, I can reference the planner binder to remember what I did last year when I want to pull it out later. Take the time to plan, so I don’t have to think later down the road. Trying to work smarter this year lol.
Click here to get I Spy Printables
When I first start the session, I allowed my students to explore the sensory bin. They were able to pick out 3-5 items that they really liked. We then used those items that they picked out to target their goals!
Goals to target with the “I Spy Sensory Bin
- Use the items to build sentences using adjectives and prepositional phrases.
- While exploring the sensory bin, you can work on initiating comments and turn taking in structured conversation with your little speechies.
- Create a fun narrative using the items the students selected from the bin.
- Describe the items by attributes and adjectives.
- Play “I spy” categories and have your students go on the hunt for items that would fit different in different categories. You can do this receptively by calling out a category group or expressively have students give a clue like “I spy a fruit.” Then, the other students have to go in search of the item that they found in the bin.
- Have students follow directions using their trinkets.
- Use a wh-question graphic organizer to describe the items in the bin. Students can explain who would use the item, where can you find it, what do you do with it, when would you use it and why would someone use it.
Grab this FREE category printable to use along side the sensory bin. Place each trinket on the category once the student finds an item. You can have students name more items in the category group as you search.
Click here to get I Spy Printables
What do you think? Will you make this “I Spy” sensory bin? Which age groups do you think would like this? I used this with my K-3 graders and everyone had a ball.
How do I access the free category printable? I’d love to use it with my students.
There is a pink/purple download button at the end of the blog post!
Hi! I was trying to download the category sheet too, but it seems to send the ultimate guide instead of the category sheet. I wonder if this is happening to the other too? I would love to have it though :)!
There is a clickable link for the category printable at the bottom of the post. Thanks!
As you have probably surmised, the link does not work . Please revise. I have just ordered the trinkets and would love to use the category printable as suggested. Thank you!
Hey Andrea! The link should work. I have tried it on my end several times. The download should have been emailed to you. I also sent it again in my newsletter, so you should have it. Otherwise, just email me and I can get it to you!
I can’ t seem to find how to download the I spy category printable, it was not included in the ultimate sensory bin guide and I would love to have it thanks.
You will see the icon to click at the bottom of the blog post.
I love all your sensory bun ideas. Where can I grab this I Spy categories freebie? Thank you.
There is a pink/purple icon that if you click on it, you will get the free download!
I love this!!! Which “Dinky Doodads” set did you purchase?? Is it the one with the 50 larger trinkets?
I got the 200+ trinkets.
I’m going to order some of these too – did you get the “teacher set” or smaller “I Spy” ones?
I got the 200 trinkets. I just ordered the larger sized trinkets too.
Did you get the larger size trinkets (set of 50)?
I got the set of 100 or 200, I believe!
I put my info but can’t download the sheets
It should be sent to your email!
I’m super excited to make my own sensory bin and that you are giving the I spy sheet away as a freebie!! Thank you for the fun idea!!
Love this idea! Thank you for sharing the resources so that I can re-create this, and all the therapy ideas that it can be used for. It is really helpful.
Hello! When I clicked the pink/purple link on the bottom, I was emailed a free download to the “Race to 100.” Is there another place I can purchase or download the categories card? Such a fun idea, especially the straws! I would’ve never thought of that.
I just tried it out and was sent the correct download to my email. You can always email me at email@example.com
I love your ideas and did this today with several of my kiddos. Thanks so much for helping me (and my students) survive the end of the school year with a new and engaging activity!
This looks amazing and just what I was looking for. I am so excited I can’t wait to use it. Thank you so much I needed some new materials inspiration it is just what I needed to cure the burnout I was feeling!!!