You know those days you’re scrambling for an engaging hands-on activity that goes along with your lesson? Rather than scouring your shelves or rushing to find a resource that requires lengthy assembly, check out my noun-function sensory bins.
Targeting noun-function is a great way to develop language skills. I like to use noun-function activities with my preschool and kindergarten students who need to build their functional vocabulary. Filling a sensory bin with your target vocabulary is a fun and engaging way to practice this skill with your students. Today, I am going to show you how to make a “Can you find it?” noun-function sensory bin to use in language therapy.
Materials You Need for the Sensory Bin
- Shredded Green Paper for grass- Use the paper from your paper shredder or the gift packaging paper that you can find at the dollar store or Target.
- Black/brown beans – You can find these at the dollar store and Target.
- Rice – You can dye your rice different colors and store in gallon sized plastic bags. Here is a tutorial for how to dye your rice.
- White cotton balls or white pom pom balls to be snowballs for a winter noun-function sensory bin.
- Fake leaves from the Dollar Tree to use in the fall sensory bin.
- Bin – I LOVE the 15 quart bins from Target with clasps
- Mini items or task cards of nouns to put in the bin – you can find ready to go seasonal nouns for summer, winter, spring, and fall in my seasonal push-in language lesson plan guides.
- Magnetic wand and paper clips.
How to Set Up The Sensory Bin
Once you’ve got your materials, setting up your sensory bins is quick and easy (great for those of you who have a large caseload). The first thing you want to do is select the filler that you’ll be using. I suggest saving any of the smaller objects (beans, rice) for you older students. If you’re planning a themed lesson, you’ll want to pick a filler that matches that theme. For example, for a Fall theme, using some fake leaves is always fun. Add your filler to the bin. Prepare your target noun cards by printing and cutting them out. I always like to laminate my cards or put them on cardstock to add some durability. Add a paperclip to each card if you want your students to use a magnetic wand to find the cards in your sensory bin. That’s it, your sensory bin is ready for your therapy session!
Targeting Noun-Functions With Seasonal Sensory Bins
Targeting receptive vocabulary by having students identify pictures and categories will be quick and easy. You can have your students look for something to eat, wear, or play with. Once they go on the hunt, I like to have them label and create a sentence to explain the noun-function. This is always a great way for me to target receptive and expressive language all in one session.
If a student is struggling with expressively explaining the function of the noun, you can provide a field of 2 or 3 pictures and have the student point to the one that you’re targeting. You can also target noun-function receptively by having your student answer yes/no questions.
I love to pair this activity with visual sentence strips. These help my students expressively share the noun-function in a complete sentence. If you need visual supports and sentence strips, grab the seasonal push-in lesson plans that have everything ready to go!
More Language Skills to Target
These noun-function sensory bins can be used for a variety of language skills, making them a great option for mixed groups or multiple groups throughout your day. Here are some more ways you can use these bins:
- You can easily adapt this sensory bin to also work on CORE vocabulary to make requests, comments, and the words “more,” “want,” “like,” “don’t like,” “where,” and “turn.”
- Build depth of knowledge with nouns by having students describe them by semantic features after they find an item.
- Use the nouns in sentences to work on grammar concepts such as plural noun markers, prepositional phrases, noun-verb agreement, or adding adjectives.
- Create a story with some of the items to work on oral narration or articulation carryover.
How Would You Use This Bin in Therapy?
I love using these sensory bins with my students. They’re super easy and fun! Share some ways that you like to incorporate sensory bins into your therapy in the comments!