The Benefits of Using Sensory Bins In Speech Therapy

The Benefits of Using Sensory Bins In Speech Therapy

Welcome to today’s episode, where we chat about sensory bins and their incredible benefits of using sensory bins in your speech therapy sessions. Whether you’re a seasoned SLP or just starting out, sensory bins are a fantastic tool you’ll want to incorporate into your practice. Kids dig them and once you know how to use them, you will too!

What is a Sensory Bin?

Learn what is a sensory bin and how it can cover so many speech and language goals.

So, what exactly is a sensory bin? It’s a tactile experience contained in a storage container filled with various materials that children can manipulate. Think of it as a hands-on way to engage kids and make learning both fun and effective. When choosing a container, make sure it’s large enough for children to explore without spilling everything out— a good-sized storage container usually does the trick.

Exploring the Benefits of a Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are more than just filler activities; they’re powerful tools for learning and development. By engaging the five senses, they help children explore and understand their world. Language skills get a significant boost too, as kids describe items, tell stories, answer “wh” questions, and use verbs in context.

Social skills also get a lift. Sensory bins encourage turn-taking, initiating interactions, requesting, conversing, and engaging in pretend play. They are excellent for fostering social interactions in a natural, playful setting.

Cognitively, sensory bins introduce concepts like color mixing and gravity, supporting children’s understanding through hands-on exploration. Additionally, they aid in developing executive functioning skills such as waiting, body awareness, attention, and focus.

Tips for using preschool sensory bins in speech therapy, all the benefits of why to use them!

Practical Ways Sensory Bins Support Speech and Language Skills

Get information about the benefits of a sensory bin for speech therapy sessions

Sensory bins integrate motor movements and support the development of schemas, enriching pretend play scenarios. They provide numerous opportunities for kids to practice and improve their speech and language skills naturally, making therapy sessions more engaging and effective.

Join the Sensory Bin Webinar for SLPs

Want to learn more? Join our live “How to Use Sensory Bins in Speech Therapy” webinar on June 11th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST. Can’t make it live? No problem—access to the replay will be available for 30 days. 

For just $9, you’ll receive an ultimate guide with resources for creating sensory bins and $15 worth of sensory bin printables. Plus, earn CMH hours applicable toward ASHA CCC’s and state licenses.


Top benefits of a sensory bin in your play-based speech therapy sessions

Get Started With Speech Therapy Sensory Bins

What is a sensory bin and how to use them in speech therapy

Sensory bins are an invaluable tool in speech therapy, offering endless benefits from language development to social skills and beyond. Don’t miss our webinar to delve deeper into creating effective sensory bins and expanding your therapeutic toolkit.

Stay inspired and keep making a difference!

Easy Frog Sensory Bins For Preschool & Kindergarten Speech Therapy

Easy Frog Sensory Bins For Preschool & Kindergarten Speech Therapy

If you didn’t know this, frogs hibernate in the fall when the temperatures drop and emerge when the warmer spring weather hits. When you notice your kids catching lots of little frogs in the yard, that’s why! They are ready to enjoy that warmer weather. So, doing a frog preschool theme in the spring months is a great way to work on building knowledge about these amphibians. To increase engagement with your sessions, making a frog sensory bin to teach children about a frog’s environment and the frog life cycle can bring vocabulary and new concepts to life. Today, I will help you make easy frog sensory bins that you can use to cover a TON of speech and language goals. 

Fillers for Your Bins

Make frog sensory bin for preschoolers and kindergarten

Whether you are making a frog pond sensory bin or more of a backyard frog bin, you can use a variety of fillers for your bin. I always recommend using fillers that make sense for your budget, level of mess tolerance, or safety for the kids you are working with in your speech therapy sessions. So, review this filler list and decide what will work best for you. I will put a * by the fillers I think are budget-friendly, not too messy, and safe for kids.

To get more ideas for fillers, you can find that in the free Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide

Materials for a Frog Pond Sensory Bin

If you want to make a frog pond sensory you will want a filler that would represent water and an area that could be mud or dirt in your bin. Here are some materials that you can use to add to the bin:


Printables for frogs and a sensory bin cheat sheet is in the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. You can add mini binder clips to the frogs to help them stay up on the lilypads.

All the tips for how to make a frog pond sensory bin.

How to Use Your Frog Sensory Bins

How to make an engaging frog preschool theme sensory bin for speech therapy.

Depending on what books or songs you are pairing with your frog pond sensory bin, you can cover a variety of speech therapy goals. For example, if you use the book Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan you can retell the story using the sensory bin props.

And similarly, if you incorporate songs into your sessions, you can act out the 5 Green and Speckled Frogs with your bin. 

For non-fiction books that teach about the frog life cycle and facts about frogs, use the sensory bin to target goals. For example, students can explain the frog life cycle in their own words using the figurines. Or, students can work on verb actions, wh-questions and vocabulary about a frog’s life.



Speech Therapy Goals to Target

With a frog preschool theme, use sensory bin materials to target basic concepts, verbs, AAC core words and more. Here are some ideas:


  • Basic concepts: in/out, wet/dry, high/low, over/under, up/down, more/less
  • Answer yes/no questions (Is the frog in the pond?)
  • Answer wh-questions (Where is the frog? What is he doing?)
  • Verb actions: hop, leap, eat, catch, sit, blink, splash
  • Vocabulary: pond, water, wet, lilypads, mud
  • Sequential: first, next, last
  • Play a fly catching game. Students roll a die to see how many flies they can catch. Whoever has the most flies wins.
Get all the tips for making frog sensory bins in your play-based speech therapy sessions.

Do you pair books with your sensory bins?

One of the easiest ways to plan for your preschool and kindergarten sessions is to pair sensory bins with related books. With these frog preschool themed sensory bins, we provide book companions, cheat sheets, and extension activities for a frog theme in the month of March. We want to take speech therapy lesson planning off your plate, so you can focus on supporting your students. First, you would read the frog-themed book using the cheat sheets and any companion activities. Then, pull out your frog sensory bin to target goals with students. Make sure to tag me @themedtherapyslp with pictures of your frog-themed sensory bisn! This isn’t the only spring sensory bin you can make! There are lots of great ones for insects, flowers, and more.

Pumpkin Sensory Bin for Play-Based Speech Therapy

Pumpkin Sensory Bin for Play-Based Speech Therapy

It’s officially the fall season, so it’s time to break out your pumpkin-sensory bins! One of the best ways to plan for your play-based speech therapy sessions is by making sensory bins that you can adapt and use to cover many goals. You can follow your student’s lead using these bins, and it won’t be stressful because you can download my FREE pumpkin-themed speech therapy cheat sheet for your bins (scroll down for the pink button.) Hopefully, these sensory bin ideas will help you plan for your pumpkin speech therapy activities unit. 


This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small commission at no additional cost when you use my links.

Pumpkin Sensory Bin Fillers for Your Container

Use these pumpkin-themed sensory bin ideas to cover your play-based speech therapy sessions.

Any fall-themed sensory bin fillers will work, but anything that represents hay, grass, or dirt will work great if you want to make a pumpkin patch. Here are some suggestions:


Pro tip: Use the fillers for your fall sensory bins too!

Pumpkin Speech Therapy Materials for Your Sensory Bins

To find some pumpkin speech therapy materials for your bins, be on the lookout for items during the fall season. My favorite spots to find pumpkin-themed items are Dollar Tree, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon.

When you are considering what to buy, look through your pumpkin books to help come up with a list of materials you want to add. For a pumpkin patch sensory bin, you would want to find these items:

For a five-little pumpkin sensory bin, some materials that would work well would be the following:


Learn how to make pumpkin speech therapy sensory bins for your play-based learning and mixed groups!
Get speech therapy pumpkin activities for your Prek-5th grade caseload.

In the Themed Therapy SLP membership, we provide pumpkin-themed verb and vocabulary flashcards that you can print, cut out, and throw in your sensory bin with paper clips on the flashcards. Use your magnetic wand to have kids select cards. 

Pumpkin Pie Sensory Bin

Use these pumpkin sensory bin ideas to cover your play-based speech therapy sessions.

If you read a pumpkin-themed book that incorporates baking a pumpkin pie, like Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman or The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis, making a pumpkin pie sensory bin would be a perfect extension activity. To make this bin, you can add the following: 


Another alternative is to make a pumpkin muffin sensory bin from TurnerTots.

Using Your Bin in Play-Based Speech Therapy Sessions

Now that you have your bin made, it’s time to use it in therapy! Here are some ways that you can use these sensory bins in your play-based speech therapy sessions:


  • Focus on retelling the story using the sensory bin materials.
  • Name the pumpkins different silly names, but ensure they are loaded with your student’s speech sound. Each time they pick a pumpkin, they must practice its name.
  • Work on syntax, MLU, and morphemes by having the pumpkins do verb actions, or use your Little People to do actions while at the pumpkin patch, such as lift, pick, carry, pull, bend, pay, drive, carve, walk, etc. ‘
  • Target spatial and basic concepts. Try to work on the concepts in pairs, such as in and out, on and off, many and few, fast and slow, or big and small (add different-sized pumpkins to do that.) You can use printables from my fall sensory bin companion with different-sized pumpkins.
  • Ask and answer wh-questions such as “Where are we going?” “How many pumpkins do you have?” “What size is your pumpkin?”
  • AAC CORE words for I, find, look, yes, no, big, little, more, go, come, like, don’t like
Pumpkin speech therapy activities to help you plan for your preschool and early elementary caseload.
Use this free pumpkin sensory bin lesson plan for your play-based speech therapy sessions.

If you want a cheat sheet to help you navigate using your pumpkin sensory bin in the moment with your mixed groups or play-based speech therapy sessions, grab this free pumpkin cheat sheet!

Tips for Using the 5 Little Pumpkins Sensory Bin

Have a fun jack-o-lantern sensory bin to pair with the song 5 Little Pumpkins

In preschool, singing the 5 Little Pumpkins song is a great way to build vocabulary and attention span, teach gestures, practice emotions, and increase participation. You can pair your 5 Little Pumpkins sensory bin with books and songs such as this one for emotions or by The Kiboomers


Here are some speech and language goals to target with this bin:

  • Have the pumpkins exhibit different emotions and students can practice using those facial expressions or tone of voice to show that emotion with phrases such as “Oh no!” or “I’m ______.”
  • Give different amounts of pumpkins to students in the group or with figurines and ask who has more, less, or the same.
  • Target verbs such as roll, fly, run, pick, carve, sit
  • Teach basic concepts such as night/morning, big/little, happy/sad, dark/light
  • Using mini orange solo cups, you can put mini trinkets underneath the pumpkins and have students see what is under them.
  • When you roll each pumpkin away, pick a place where they will go and then have students work on answering “where” questions. 

If you need visuals to pair with your 5 Little Pumpkin sensory bin, we have some in the open-ended activities for the pumpkin theme in the membership

More Fall-Themed Sensory Bins for Speech Therapy

When you finish your pumpkin unit, doing an apple sensory bin or falling leaves sensory bin is perfect for the fall season. If you make a sensory bin, make sure to tag me on social media @thedabblingspeechie 

Plan an engaging speech therapy pumpkin activity with a sensory bin!
Simple Color Sensory Bins That Are Versatile for Speech Therapy

Simple Color Sensory Bins That Are Versatile for Speech Therapy

If you have been on the struggle bus trying to find activities that keep kids engaged and their hands busy, try sensory bins. Specifically, color sensory bins because these are easy to make, and so, so versatile for targeting speech and language goals. Today, I am going to share how you can teach colors to preschool and kindergarten students as well as a LOT of other speech and language goals.

Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience. I earn a small commission for affiliate links included at no additional cost. 

Items to Add to Your Color Sensory Bins


For your color sensory bins, you can add the colored pom poms you are targeting. If you are doing a rainbow-colored sensory bin, add in rainbow colored rice or popcorn, multi-colored pom poms.

To combine printables and physical items, go through your play food sets, figurines, and game sets for items with the color you want to target. For color printables, use the flashcards from the color sensory bin companion

If you need mini trinkets or figurines, here are some of my favorites that can be thrown into your bin:

You can get some organization ideas by reading this post on organizing your sensory bin materials

Books to Pair with the Color Sensory Bins

One of my favorite ways to use sensory bins is to pair them with books. You can start the session by reading a story and then use the color sensory bin to carry over vocabulary and concepts with your students. Check out all my favorite color books to find one that works best for your speech therapy caseload. 


Ways to Teach Colors With the Sensory Bin


Teaching colors to preschool and kindergarten, students is a skill teachers work on with activities in their curriculum. Furthermore, when you teach colors to students, it is a beginning adjective word you can use to describe nouns when working on syntax and morphology goals. Plus, colors are a category group, and you can show how groups of items go together because of their color. You can get all the details about how to teach categories to help your students build their vocabularies. To help students understand how items can be categorized by color, you can put out color printable sorting mats (these are in the color sensory bin printable resource) or colored containers for students to put the item that matches the color.  I love how Play to Learn Preschool used color masking tape with water bottles as a color sorting sensory bin with rainbow pom poms. 

Hands On As We Grow had a great idea of making tubes out of colored paper with rubber bands as sorting tubes. 


More Tips for Teaching Colors With Sensory Bins

For students that would benefit from learning one color at a time, have students hunt around for items by giving them cues such as “Find the blue fish.” You can set up two color mats or two colored containers so students can sort all the “blue items” on the blue mat. Having two sorting mats helps you see if the child is associating the items with the correct color.


When students appear to receptively understand the color, introduce expressive language tasks by having the student tell you or another child what to find. For example, the student can say, “Find red cherries.” Pair this activity with a sentence strip and have the child make a sentence at their level. If the child is using 2-word phrases, you can have them try to work on expanding to three to four-word sentences such as “I see red cherries.”


Speech Sound Goals to Target with the Color Sensory Bin

The beauty of color sensory bins is that you can often find items that fit your student’s speech sounds. For example, if you made a yellow-colored sensory bin, you could add items with your student’s sound, such as lemon, school bus, bell pepper, yellow crayon, tennis ball, pineapple, and sunflower, all have the L sound. Or,  you can come up with a sound-loaded phrase such as “I see ____” for /s/, “I like ___” for K, or “I spotted _____” for s-blends.


Students can go on an I Spy sound hunt with the color sensory bin to find items with their sounds. You can also work on auditory awareness and judge if the item has the student’s sound.


Language Goals You Can Teach With the Sensory Bin


As SLPs, we work on a lot of different language goals. So, a perk of using a color sensory bin is that we can adapt it to target what each student is working on in speech. Here are some ideas for how to use the bins for language goals:


  • Describing items by attributes (i.e. category, location, parts, function, texture, size, etc.)
  • Answering wh-questions about the item
  • Target yes/no questions about the color or item
  • Use in a sentence to work on sentence structure and morphology
  • Share opinions if the child likes or doesn’t like the item
  • Expressively name the color of the item
  • Compare and contrast two of the colored items by similarities and differences
  • If you have multiples of items you can work on singular and plurals
  • Work on “who” questions by giving items to students in the group or to stuffies and ask, “Who has the green hose?”
  • Give inference clues to find items in the sensory bin

What Speech Therapy Goals Would You Target with Color Sensory Bins?

How would you use this sensory bin to teach colors or other speech and language goals on your caseload? Share your ideas in the comments. Any way we can adapt speech therapy material to cover more goals is a plus!

Easy Ladybug Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Easy Ladybug Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

If there is one insect that I love, it’s probably ladybugs. They are cool to look at, help eat pesky bugs in your garden, and are fun to catch outside. Today, I am going to share how to make a ladybug sensory bin to increase engagement in your speech therapy sessions. You will also learn some books to pair with the ladybug sensory bin because the BEST speech therapy sessions involve a book and a hands-on activity.

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. I receive a small commission when you use my link.

Ladybug Books for Preschool and Early Elementary

ladybug books preschool speech therapy

On the hunt for a ladybug book to pair with your sensory bin? Here is a list of my favorites:


Items You Need for Your Ladybug Sensory Bin

For a mini ladybug sensory bin, you need the following:

To assemble a sensory bin in a larger latched container, you can add the following items:



How to Assemble Your Ladybug Sensory Bin

Layer your fillers in the bottom of the bin. To add in some textures, add in sticks, leaves or flowers. Because ladybugs love to eat aphids, you could draw little circles on some of the flower petals or leaves with a permanent marker. Add in your ladybugs, and any additional materials that you want to use with your groups.

I like to have my visual sensory bin rules handy to reinforce how to handle the sensory bin. Click the pink button to get your visual support and a free sensory bin guide. 

YouTube Videos About Ladybugs to Pair with the Bug Sensory Bin

To stretch the excitement about the ladybug sensory bin, incorporating other materials and activities will help keep students engaged. Here are some YouTube videos you can use with ladybugs:


More Bug Sensory Bin Ideas for Preschool and Early Elementary

Ladybug sensory bins for preschoolers and kindergarten.

The cool thing about stalking up on filler and materials for this ladybug sensory activity is that you can use it with other bug sensory bins too. Make an insect sensory bin that pairs with the book In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denis Fleming or a bug sensory bin that kids can hunt in the grass for different insects. A favorite book for bugs is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Having a sensory bin to work on story retell would be so engaging for your preschool and kindergarten students. 

Need more Insect Activities and Ideas?

Trying to stay creative when you have a GIANT speech therapy caseload is overwhelming. Especially when you don’t have time to plan lessons. If you have been feeling all over the place when it comes to planning theme-based activities for your Prek-5th grade caseload, come join the Themed Therapy SLP membership. Our mission is to help take lesson planning off your plate so you can enjoy therapy with your students. With the monthly membership in April, you get access to activities for Prek-5th grade for the themes insects, chores, and spring/garden. If you want the annual membership, you get access to 36 theme units at one time!


How to Use Your Sensory Bin to Cover Speech and Language Goals


The coolest thing about sensory bins is that once they are prepped you can use them to cover all or most of the goals on your speech therapy caseload. Here are some ways you can adapt this bin for different articulation and language goals:


  • Target speech words for L, K, G, S-blends, R, CH, F, R-blends: ladybug, look, spot, very small, fly, grass, lucky, lovely, crawl, bug, insect, aphid, hatch, food, larva, 


  • AAC CORE vocabulary: eat, more, little, big, look, yes, no, 
  • Action verbs – crawl, fly, eat, lay, live
  • Tier II vocabulary – harmful, protect, pest, predator
  • Target basic concepts – big/little, more/less for number of spots, all/none, on/off
  • Work on prepositions with the materials in the bin for “where” the ladybug is located
  • Make a story retelling sensory bin for one of the ladybug books to work on narration
  • Answer wh-questions about “Where” and “What” the ladybugs are doing
  • Work on morphology and sentence structure with the sensory bin


How would you use this ladybug sensory bin with your speech therapy groups? Share in the comments. 

More bug sensory bin ideas

If you are looking for more bug sensory bin ideas, check out this fun In the Tall, Tall Grass sensory bin. Pairing a hands-on extension activity with the book brings it to life! Also, you can see some more insect sensory bin ideas on this blog post

Easy Spider Speech Therapy Sensory Bins

Easy Spider Speech Therapy Sensory Bins

Are you planning a spider speech therapy unit and need some hands-on ideas for your sessions? Check out these two easy spider speech therapy sensory bins to use with your elementary speech therapy caseload.

If you plan it right, you can find many spider elements at Dollar Tree or Walmart during the Halloween season for a steal of a deal!

Fillers and Materials for Your Spider Sensory Bin

Easy spider speech therapy sensory bin ideas to use with your mixed groups!

Here is a list of items you need to make your bin (Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience):

  • Painter’s tape
  • Various sized spiders
  • Purple glitter spiders are from Dollar Tree, and the smaller spiders you can get on Amazon.
  • The fake webs can be found at Dollar Tree or Amazon.
  • You can add insects into the bin to talk about what the spider caught. There are a variety of mini insect sets on Amazon
  • Hand scoopers were from an insect kit from Dollar Tree, but you can also find scoopers on Amazon.

Themed Therapy SLP Membership has a Spider Unit

Do you love themed therapy but don’t have the energy or time to plan all the activities for your Prek-5th grade caseload? You can now enjoy your themed therapy while letting someone else take lesson planning off your plate. The Themed Therapy SLP membership provides the following:

  • Book cheat sheets.
  • Hands-on activities.
  • Google Slides.
  • No Print activities.
  • Task Cards.
  • Open-ended activities.
  • Reading passages for your elementary caseload.

Sign up for the annual and access over 24 themed units at once, including this spider theme! This spider unit is part of the October themes.

Spider Speech Therapy Sensory Bin – What Did the Spider Catch?

With this first spider speech therapy sensory bin, you can add the webs as your filler. You can throw in some mini insects and play “What did the spider catch in their web?” 

If you have mini objects, you can also throw those in the bin. Your students can hunt for mini objects that the spider caught that have their target sound!

With this activity, you can work on the following goals:


  • “What” questions
  • Discuss the process for how spiders catch their prey, focusing on the vocabulary spin, prey, catch, wrap, suck, cover, strand, poke, fangs, venom, inject
  • Describe the insects or items by attributes
  • Target sentence structures and MLU such as “I found ____” or “The spider caught _______.”

You can see this bin in action on Instagram.

Spider Speech Therapy Sensory Bin to Teach Vocabulary

I spotted this balance spider web sensory bin from Happy Toddler Playtime and knew there are a lot of ways to use this sensory bin in your speech therapy sessions. 

First, you put painter’s tape across the top of the bin. Then, have your students try putting spiders on the tape to balance the web strand.

To make this sensory bin more versatile, find different-sized spiders or types of spiders to use with the activity. By having different sizes, you can target big and little.

With your older students, you can demonstrate the tier II vocabulary of balance, tumble, carefully, sticky, and any other vocabulary you can think of to use with this spider activity!

Your students can earn spiders after each speech sound production and then see how many spiders they can place on the web before one topples off the web.


How Could You Use These Spider Sensory Bins With Your Student?

What other speech and language goals can you target with these spider sensory bins? One of the BEST ways to learn how to adapt materials is to ask SLPs to give ideas. If you can expand one of these sensory bins for specific goals, share your thoughts in the comments.

Easy spider speech therapy sensory bins to use with your mixed groups!