Make an Ocean Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Make an Ocean Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

When it starts to heat up outside, that’s a great time to pull out your summer sensory bins! Sensory bins pair well with books and can cover LOTS of goals, making for a great mixed group activity.

Today, after reading this blog post, you will be able to create your ocean sensory bin for your speech therapy sessions. You can make the sensory bin as grand or simple as you want!

Ocean Sensory Bin Fillers and Materials You Need

Use this ocean sensory bin for your mixed groups to cover a variety of speech and language goals.

You want to layer the container with filler items (textures) and materials as you build your ocean sensory bin. Here is a list of potential things you can add to your ocean sensory bin (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience):

 

If you want to see how I set up an ocean sensory bin, you can check out it on Instagram. When using printables that you want to stand up, you need something sturdy like blue kinetic sand or something that has weight like blue dyed rice. 

How to Set Up Your Sensory Bin

How to setup your ocean sensory bin for speech therapy so you can cover your mixed groups with ease!

To set up your ocean sensory bin, you either want the bin to be all ocean water or a combination of shore and sea.

In the picture, I used kinetic sand for the shore and blue playdough for the ocean. I cut out green cardstock to use as seaweed and put ocean figurines throughout the bin.

You can add mini trinkets and discuss what you found on the beach shore or in the ocean. Using mini charms is a great way to work on speech sounds during the session. Or, you can play, does it belong at sea to work on yes/no questions and create sill sentences.

When planning out your sensory bin, pick the filler you want and select your materials. The most accessible sensory bin is just adding blue pom balls or cut-up blue straws and ocean animal figurines!

Where to Find Ocean Animal Printables

There are sensory bin printables in the ocean push-in language lesson plan guides if you need ocean animal printables. In May, the themed therapy SLP membership has an ocean animal unit, and there are printables and a cheat sheet for using the sensory bin. Get on the waitlist to become a Themed Therapy SLP Member in July 2022

Ways to Use the Ocean Sensory Bin for Language Skills

This ocean sensory bin can be used to target a variety of language goals. You can use the scuba divers to work on “who, what, where” questions. For example, you can ask, “What is the diver holding?” or “Who is he swimming by?”

Target basic concepts for through, under, over, around, near, far, up, down, in, out, etc.

You can work on describing the ocean animals by attributes and act out different prepositions and verbs with the ocean animals.

Use the ocean animals to retell or talk about what happened in the ocean-themed book you are using in therapy. Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck or Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae are two great books with early elementary.

Use this ocean sensory bin to cover your speech therapy goals and keep your students engaged during the session.

Need Ocean and Summer Language Activities for Your K-2 Students?

If you are working ESY speech services or just have to work all summer, why not have engaging summer-themed language activities done for you? When you don’t have to worry about lesson planning, you can focus on your student’s progress and leave work feeling stress-free! Click the pictures below to check out all the activities and grab them for summer therapy!

Speech Sound Ideas to Use with the Ocean Sensory Bin

Use this ocean sensory bin to cover your speech therapy goals and keep your students engaged during the session.

When targeting speech sounds with the sensory bin, use a cheat sheet of sound-loaded carrier phrases or words during the hands-on lesson.

For example, you can work on “catch the _____” for /k/ and /ch/ or “lookout, the ____ ran into the seaweed.” for targeting /r/, /l/, /k/ and /s/.

Here are some examples of words to use for a variety of sounds:

/f/ – fish, find, fast, fun, full,
/k/ – catch, knock,
/s-blends/ – swish, swim, splash, small, spray, spout
/l/ – look, low, whale, eel, sail,
/sh/ – shrimp, shallow, show, ship, ocean, swoosh, push

What ideas do you have for this sensory bin?

How would you target goals using this ocean sensory bin? Share in the comments your tips! Remember when making your ocean sensory bin, use what you already have on hand! You don’t need to make it expensive to have an effective sensory bin. For more sensory bin ideas, check my page with all the goods about sensory bins! If you are on the hunt for some ocean-themed crafts, this blog post shares tips for how to use them as therapy props!

How To Store Sensory Bins For the Year

How To Store Sensory Bins For the Year

You are probably reading this blog post because you LOVE using sensory bins so much that now you are running out of room to store them.

When I first started using sensory bins, I would shove the materials into a gallon-sized bag and toss them into a big container. The only problem was that when I wanted to use a particular sensory bin the following year, it took me twenty minutes to find it!

Does this sound familiar? Hopefully, after reading this blog post, you will have a system for organizing your sensory bins for the school year. Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. 

Biggest Space-Saver Tip for Storing Sensory Bins

Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

Most of us have small therapy rooms; it’s an unfortunate reality. So, our therapy rooms can get pretty cluttered with stuff if we aren’t managing our organization of speech therapy materials.

To save space and money, invest in no more than three sensory bin containers. You can get a smaller pencil box, a shallow Sterilite bin, and then a quart-sized bin to hold your sensory bin materials.

Then, you can keep the sensory bins you aren’t using in larger containers and store them in your room or your garage. When working two days a week at two different schools, I kept my additional sensory bins in my garage and brought the one container between sites.

Materials Needed to Create Your Sensory Bin Organization System

Using zipper pouches is an excellent investment to keep the filler and material items together in one spot. You can get different sizes for storage. Depending on the number of things in your sensory bin, you may want more oversized bags sized 16 by 12 inches or 15 by 11 inches. You can then purchase smaller-sized zipper pouches to store mini items and printables for the bin.

Having labels to put on the pouches will also help you identify the materials you want to use.

Then, you can sort your sensory bin bags into categories for when you typically use them throughout the school year. When you label your larger containers by times of the year, you will know which bin to go to look for items.

Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

Check out how to organize the zipper pouches

Check out these tips for how to store sensory bins for the school year, so that you know where your speech therapy materials are located when you need them. Streamline your sensory bin organization today!

My organizational style likes everything in one spot if I can help it. So, when organizing my apple tree sensory bin, I stored the toilet paper rolls and fake apples in the larger pouch (16 by 12 inches) and then kept the filler Pom Pom balls in the slightly smaller folder (15 by 11 inches.) I put those in the smaller zipper pouch for the apple-themed verb and vocabulary printables. Then, I tossed them all into the bigger zipper pouch.

Suppose you are interested in getting themed sensory bin materials. In that case, you can check out companions in my TPT store or have themed sensory bin guides with the Themed Therapy SLP Membership (doors open in summer 2022, so get on the waitlist now.)

Sensory Bin Sticker Labels

Having a label on the zipper pouch is super helpful when you want to identify sensory bin sets in your larger bins. You can create labels for your different containers and print them out on a full-page Avery shipping label. Cut them out and stick them on the zipper pouch.

After adding all your materials to your zipper pouch with the label intact, you plop it into the more oversized organization container! Your sensory bin is now appropriately stored for the season, lol.

When you need the materials for a sensory bin, you grab them out of the tote and dump them in your main sensory bin container.

Sensory Bins Your Students Will LOVE

When it comes to making sensory bins, you definitely can use items from around your speech room. But if you are looking for themed sensory bins that have cheat sheets, visual supports, and printables ready to go, check out these sensory bin resources in my TPT store

What sensory bin organization tips do you have to share?

If you have any tremendous sensory bin organization tips, please share them! One of my favorite ways to use sensory bins is with a themed book. You can read the story and then pair a sensory bin that reinforces the concepts from the books in a hands-on way for your students.

For more sensory bin ideas on how you can make your bins, check out this blog post HERE

How to Make a Penguin Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

How to Make a Penguin Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

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

Use this penguin sensory bin to target speech and language goals that keep your students engaged!

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:

Ocean water beads 

Cut up White jumbo straws 

Blue Jello 

Fake snow 

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

When running mixed groups, it is great to have an activity to cover all the goals in the group. Use a penguin sensory bin to work on a variety of speech and language skills.

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.

Make using a penguin sensory bin easy with these companion printables for speech and language goals.

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?

When running mixed groups, it is great to have an activity to cover all the goals in the group. Use a penguin sensory bin to work on a variety of speech and language skills.

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.

Snow Sensory Bin with Plow Trucks

Snow Sensory Bin with Plow Trucks

Raise your hand if you had some students on your caseload that LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cars and trucks!? Why not theme smash this winter to talk about winter weather and winter vehicles using this engaging snow sensory bin?

It’s really easy to setup and you can adapt it to target a LOT of different goals. Plus, your students will be so excited to ditch the worksheets and keep their hands busy while they plow the snow to reveal their speech or language target. Not only can you work on your students targets with the bin, you can also build language using verbs and vocabulary related to winter weather and transportation.

Items You Need For Your Sensory Bin

What I love about this snow sensory bin is that you may already have all of the items. If not, you can grab the list of items here or ask some of your families if they have extra toy trucks or want to donate white Pom Pom balls for speech.

-A container (any type will do, but for this bin, I like the shallow Sterlite containers from Target)

-White Pom Pom Balls (the balls in the pictures are .5 inches that I got on Amazon HERE, this is an Amazon affiliate link) HERE is the link to the 1 inch Pom Pom balls.

-Toy trucks for plowing the snow. You can get this set HERE on Amazon (affiliate link included) that are pull back, so you can reuse them for other fun activities for stop/go, races, etc.

-Picture targets to put on the bottom of the bin to have your students practice their speech or language targets. In the Themed Therapy SLP membership, there are themed verb and vocabulary cards featured in this bin. Get on the waitlist for when the membership opens up again in summer 2022 HERE.

-Put picture scenes or pages of pictures to have at the bottom of the bin. Switch out the pictures for your mixed groups by using the Any Craft Companion pictures.

Use this snow sensory bin to incorporate plow trucks and moving snow! They can push the snow away to reveal their speech and language targets.
Use this snow sensory bin to cover speech and language goals with your elementary students!

Sensory Bin Organization Tips

Use this snow sensory bin to cover a lot of speech therapy goals in your next session!

When I create sensory bins, I tend to keep 2 main container boxes and store the fillers and materials in bigger tubs. In the past, I was the queen of just shoving things in the bins or throwing them in a plastic gallon bag. Recently, I have started to use zipper pouches to keep the pieces organized. These 13 by 9-inch pouches (affiliate links included) are large enough to store printables and material pieces. 

Then, you can purchase smaller pouches to keep figurines, props, and manipulatives that you like to add to that bin. You can also store your filler to keep all the moving parts of the bin in one spot. Then, just toss it in your larger bin and switch out. For more ideas on how to make sensory bins, head to this BLOG POST. If you are looking for more ways to organize your theme-based materials, check out this post.

Use this snow sensory bin to have students plow the snow to reveal the pictures in your next speech therapy session!

How to Use the Snow Sensory Bin

Have students plow snow away with toy trucks to reveal their speech and language target using this snow sensory bin.

This bin is so versatile because you can interchange picture sheets to match your student’s targets. You can have students plow the snow away to reveal their target. Have them practice the word a certain number of times, use it in a sentence, describe it by attributes, or name other items in that category group.

Create sentence strips on a piece of paper such as, “The truck drove over ______” or “Push the snow off of ______.”

For students working on expanding communication functions, you can work on requesting more of an action, commenting, initiating, and answering wh-questions.

Target AAC CORE words for go, stop, look, all done, more, again, yes, no, here, there, turn, my

How would you use this sensory bin in therapy? Let me know in the comments!

 

Need More Winter Sensory Bin Ideas?

Having engaging sensory bins that go with your winter theme will help you plan extension activities for your mixed groups with ease! Here is a blog post with a sensory bin incorporating penguins! This BLOG POST shares different fillers that go well for a winter theme and ideas for working on winter vocabulary.

If you are looking for ready-to-go sensory bin printables, I recommend the Mitten Match-Up or the winter sensory bin companion in my TPT store. Just click the images below to grab these sets. 

Use this winter sensory bin to work on lots of different speech and language targets.
Use winter vocabulary to target a variety of speech and language concepts using this winter sensory bin for speech therapy
Noun-Function Sensory Bins with Seasonal Themes

Noun-Function Sensory Bins with Seasonal Themes

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

Make a noun function sensory bin to engage your students while working on language concepts in speech therapy. Check out how you can make this easy sensory bin and use for weeks!

Don’t forget to check out my previous blog post for ideas on how to add variety to your sensory bins. I talk about different sensory bin fillers, materials, etc.

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

Make a noun function sensory bin to engage your students while working on language concepts in speech therapy. Check out how you can make this easy sensory bin and use for weeks!

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!

Make a noun function sensory bin to engage your students while working on language concepts in speech therapy. Check out how you can make this easy sensory bin and use for weeks!

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.
Make a noun function sensory bin to engage your students while working on language concepts in speech therapy. Check out how you can make this easy sensory bin and use for weeks!

How Would You Use This Bin in Therapy?

If you’re looking for more ideas or inspiration, take a look at my Spring, Fall, and Winter themed sensory bins for language 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!

Lucky Green Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Lucky Green Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Do you need an activity for St. Patrick’s Day that will cover lots of goals and be adaptable for many ages? I have just the sensory bin for you! This lucky green sensory bin is easy to make and will be great for your younger students and older ones too. Don’t you love it when you have materials that can be used across a lot of ages? This lucky green sensory bin will help you implement engaging therapy during the crazy month of March when all the paperwork is due.

 

I started using festive St. Patrick’s Day sensory bins many years ago and this lucky green sensory bin is still a hit. Check out this post for more March bin ideas. 

How to Make a Lucky Green Sensory Bin

All you need is a bin, some shredded green paper and green items from around your speech room. If you need more ideas for what types of bins to use, head to this blog post.

For my lucky green sensory bin, I used the following items (Amazon Affiliate links are included for your convenience. I get a small commission when you use these links):

Aluminum Pan (these make great sensory bin containers)

Shredded green wrapping paper from the Dollar Tree or green grass for Easter baskets

-Green toys and items from around my room

If you need ideas for green items, I grabbed vegetables and fruit from my play food, cars, insects, green cups, green markers and crayons, play money, green toy clothing items, or items from your Alphabet Sounds Tubs from Lakeshore Learning. I would love to know what green items you have found, so I can grab materials to add in my future lucky green sensory bins. You can also head to the Dollar Tree and find items that are green too.

Need an activity to cover mixed groups for St. Patrick’s Day? Go around your speech room and find your green toys and items. Throw them in a sensory bin and now you have the perfect speech and language sensory bin. Use this lucky green sensory bin to target grammar, vocabulary, describing, and articulation and phonology.

Can You Find It? Lucky Green Sensory Bin Activity

One activity that I love to play to work on noun-functions is my Can You Find It? Game. I put items in the bin and then give clues to my students. Can you find something that you eat? Or, Can you find something that you wear?

Because I don’t have a TON of real items, I made a sensory bin activity using different green items. It includes visual supports, and visual sentence frames to work on describing the items. If you need this activity, head to my TPT store. You won’t regret having a sensory bin companion that will last you the whole month of March (lesson plans are finished, so you can focus on therapy without the stress.)

See the pictures below to check out some of the items and visuals included in this resource. 

Ways to Use the Green Sensory Bin

Need an activity to cover mixed groups for St. Patrick’s Day? Go around your speech room and find your green toys and items. Throw them in a sensory bin and now you have the perfect speech and language sensory bin. Use this lucky green sensory bin to target grammar, vocabulary, describing, and articulation and phonology.
Need an activity to cover mixed groups for St. Patrick’s Day? Go around your speech room and find your green toys and items. Throw them in a sensory bin and now you have the perfect speech and language sensory bin. Use this lucky green sensory bin to target grammar, vocabulary, describing, and articulation and phonology.
You can use this bin to cover your speech and language goals in therapy. For articulation and speech sound students, they can hunt for items with their speech sound. Have your students hide an item in the green grass after they produce their target sound 5 times.

 

For your students working on grammar and syntax, work on naming the items with a plural tense marker. Or, have them create sentences with adjectives, prepositional phrases, and the correct noun-verb agreement.

 

This green sensory bin has so many opportunities for building vocabulary. Have your students describe the items in the bin by attributes. Or, have them look for items in specific category groups. Work on answering wh- questions while using the items. You can cover “yes/no” questions and “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” questions.

 

For articulation carryover, have your students create a silly story using the items in the green bin. This can work with well with your language students too. You can have them work on story retell and oral narration.

 

How would you use this bin in therapy? Leave a comment below and share your therapy ideas! Sharing an idea may help another SLP with using this bin.

 

Are you looking for more St. Patrick’s Day themed ideas? Head to this blog post and your lesson planning will be a breeze!!

If you are wanting to use more sensory bins during March, head to this blog post for other sensory bins you can make. You can also plan some spring sensory bins by heading to this blog post.

Make sure you download my FREE ultimate sensory bin guide (click the pink button above to grab) and make a fun baby chick sensory bin. If you head to this blog post, you can make a chicken inferencing sensory bin activity (it’s a free download on that post.)

I am always looking for sensory bin inspiration and I am sure other SLPs are too. You can share your sensory bins on Instagram using the #slpsensorybin hashtag. If you are looking for new ideas, I recommend following that hashtag to get sensory bin updates in your feed.

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