When it comes to planning therapy, SLPs want the lessons to be relevant to their students, aligned with best practices and engaging! That can be kind of tricky with our younger students.
Over the years, I discovered that sensory bins are an effective therapy material that covers a lot of goals and keeps hands busy. Today, I wanted to share all my winter sensory bin ideas you can use with your students.
Why Creating Winter Sensory Bins Can Help You With Therapy Planning
You can create winter sensory bins that go along with your favorite book like The Mitten or The Snowy Day. Or you can just create a bin using winter themed vocabulary.
Since winter can last till March and sometimes April, this is a great theme to pick for sensory bins. I am excited to share all my ideas because I think at least one will spark some inspiration for your caseload! If you are completely new to using sensory bins, head over to my sensory bin page to see what they are all about! To see some of the winter sensory bins I have used in previous years, head to this BLOG POST.
Winter Sensory Bin Fillers
A sensory bin filler are materials you put in the bin to fill it up. For winter, it is fun to have fillers that resemble snow. Here are some filler materials you can use (amazon affiliate links included):
–fabric stuffing for pillows
-Styrofoam for icebergs or use Styrofoam balls
-Glass beads to make a frozen lake
-Shredded white paper
What other winter themed fillers would you put in your bin?
Container Ideas For Sensory Bins
You can use any type of container. I recommend containers that have clasps on the lid. When I decided to use water beads for my penguin sensory bin, I wanted to put the beads in something disposable.
So, I used a disposable foil pan. After I used the water beads for the day, I put them in a sealed plastic bag, so I could re-use them for the whole week. Then, I just threw the beads and the container away.
Winter Sensory Bins Ideas
Work on identifying winter vocabulary by attributes. You can do this activity receptively or expressively with students. Print out winter vocabulary words and place in your bin. Then, have your students look for “something you can ride”. Students can then add more details about the word using category group, parts, location, texture, etc. You can also work on building MLU and grammar markers with this bin. If you need a winter vocabulary sensory bin, this one comes in my Winter PUSH-IN Language Lesson Plan Guides.
Students love when you can feed cards into a character! I made this feed the snowman sensory bin to work on learning about hot/cold food items. I also included other food items to work on different food categories. You can simultaneously work on past tense verbs and building MLU. This sensory bin is in my Snowman PUSH-IN Language Lesson Plan Guide.
Use winter vocabulary to make a sensory bin that works on superlative adjectives. You can work on big, bigger, and biggest. You can also describe the items and work on basic concepts. For example, you could say, “Put the green hat, behind the medium fire place.”
When I use a sensory bin, I like to make a cheat sheet of all the words and skills I can target. This helps me with navigating mixed groups much easier!! Print up kids doing different winter activities and place it in a winter snowy bin. Use your cheat sheet guide to target verbs, speech sounds, vocabulary, story retell, answering wh-questions and sequencing steps to do an activity such as sledding!
For your articulation students, make a snowball sensory bin! Your students can build their stash of snowballs each time they pick a snowball from the bin. If you have language students in your group, have them describe the item they chose, answer wh-questions, create a sentence with the vocabulary word or explain where and when you would use the item. Do you want these winter sensory bins for your caseload? All three of these bins are in my winter sensory bin companion that comes with lesson plans, a cheat sheet guide, printables for your bins and visual supports to help your students learn new skills. Everything is ready for you, so you can go into therapy ready to work on goals!
Do you have a sensory bin idea? I love seeing SLPs creations. The next time you make a sensory bin, snap a photo and tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie with the #slpsensorybin hashtag. Let’s inspire each other with new therapy material ideas! You can always email me a pic at firstname.lastname@example.org.