During the winter months, you can use a LOT of different themes to cover speech and language goals on your caseload. A penguin theme in January or February is a great way to incorporate arctic animals and the winter climate. To read about more penguin speech therapy activities, you can do with your students, head to this blog post. In this blog post, I will share all about one of the MOST engaging sensory bins you can do with your students. Today, you will get all the DEETS about making a penguin sensory bin to use with your caseload. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. I get a small commission when you purchase materials through the link (there is no charge on your end.)
Filler Options for Your Penguin Sensory Bin
The filler is typically something that provides a lot of tactile input. Commonly, with penguins, you know they live near the ocean water. So, you will want a filler that represents water and ice.
Here are some suggestions:
Shredded white paper from Dollar Tree gift section or use shredded paper from your personal shredder.
Another filler that is probably in your pantry is using salt or sugar as your ocean or ice filler. Youc an also buy some sugar cubes to create icebergs with your penguins.
Sensory Bin Filler Considerations
When choosing a sensory bin filler, you want to be mindful of escaping the bin onto your floor or table. If you are okay with a bit of mess, using water beads or fake snow is very engaging for students. The feeling of the snow and water beads adds to the sensory experience. For SLPs that want a minimal mess to clean, use shredded white paper, cut up white straws, or
There are times when we are short on cash or don’t have time to go shopping. That’s when you can use water or freeze ice in containers to be the icebergs in your bin. You need to be near a fridge to store the ice between groups. Or, use a set of ice with back-to-back groups.
Materials for your Penguin Sensory Bin
Here are some suggestions for what types of materials you can have in your penguin sensory bin:
Wild Republic penguin figurines
Styrofoam from packaging or can purchase at craft stores
Plastic ice cubes for icebergs
Penguin printables from the penguin language lesson plan guides
Printables from my Penguin Sensory Bin Companion
If you own the game, “Don’t Break the Ice,” use the ice cubes from the game as a material in your bin.
Ways to Use This Sensory Bin for Speech Sound Disorders
Whatever sound you are targeting in therapy, you can have the penguins slide across the icebergs to find their sound with mini trinkets. You can read more about dinky doodad trinkets HERE. There are sound sets available on their Etsy store.
You can also use the penguin companion to work on different sounds and patterns. Students have to help the penguins find their sound iceberg. With the target words, you can put half the penguins that have their sound and then half that don’t. This provides another embedded practice time to work on auditory discrimination. Grab it HERE in my TPT store.
Therapy Ideas for Targeting Language Goals
Conversationally recasting unique verbs while playing with this penguin sensory bin can be highly effective in helping your students learn grammar markers. Check out this blog post to read more about conversational recasting. Here is a list of verbs to use in the picture. What other verbs could you target?
To have a cheat sheet with all these verbs, use the Penguin Language Lesson Plan Guide because one is included in the resource!
By adding icebergs to your bin, you open the door for targeting a LOT of basic concepts. For example, you can have the penguins jump “in and out” of the ocean water. Similarly, you can work on who went “first” and “last.” What other basic concepts could you target in therapy?
Social Pragmatic Skills to Target With This Penguin Sensory Bin
One of the BEST penguin-themed books you can pair with your sensory bin to work on social pragmatic language is “Tacky the Penguin” by Helen Lester. This story is great for targeting story elements, and character emotions. It is also great for working on perspective taking such as “What could the penguins be thinking when Tacky is singing?” Not only is this story filled with opportunities to discuss perspective taking, it ultimately has themes related to valuing differences in others. And, it brings to light that our uniqueness has a purpose in being a leader in times of need.
You can also use the sensory bin to work on story retell with an emphasis on dialog and tone of voice with the characters. And, when playing with the sensory bin, you can naturally target turn taking, initiation, commenting, and other functions of communication.
How Would You Use this Penguin Sensory Bin?
I would love to know how you would use this bin with the students on your caseload. How would you modify the activity to meet your student’s speech or language levels? Share in the comments your tips or strategies that would be helpful with this penguin sensory bin.