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.
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.
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.