SLPs working with preschool through 2nd grade can use sensory bins with their students. I have noticed that even some older students really love using sensory bins. There are some students on my caseload that struggle with sustaining attention during therapy. Some have sensory needs and by using sensory bins with them, I have found an increased engagement with the speech or language activity. For some of my groups, I use sensory bins in a very structured way and with other groups, I try to use them with play based therapy.
Today, I wanted to share fall sensory bin ideas to help you with planning lessons for your preschool and kindergarten aged students. There are amazon affiliate links included in this post for your convenience.
Filler Material For Fall Sensory Bins
You can use anything for your sensory bin filler. Some fun festive fillers are fake leaves (I got mine from the Dollar Store), brown beans for dirt or popcorn kernels (I got some at Trader Joe’s). On pinterest, I have seen pumpkin scented moon sand as a filler too. I have also found fake hay from the dollar store. What Fall/Autumn sensory bin fillers have you used? Share in the comments because I would love to add those to my list of resources.
Using Fall Themed Vocabulary With Your Sensory Bins
One way to work on building vocabulary is working on understanding and expressing the noun’s attribute features. You can play a Can You Find It? Fall sensory bin activity.
You hide Fall/Autumn vocabulary cards in the sensory bin. Then, using a mini rake, student have to find an item. They can work on making more complex mean length of utterance, or describe the noun they found by attributes. You can make it a receptive category task by saying “Find something that you wear.” After they find the “scarf”, then you can have them name other clothes that you can wear. If you want to make this sensory bin for your therapy, you can access it in my Fall/Autumn Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides.
Fall Sensory Bin Ideas In Action
For this Fall sensory bin, you can use beans or popcorn kernels as the base filler. Then, you can find some fake Fall leaves (I got mine at the Dollar Tree) and a mini rake. I found a mini fairy rake on amazon that worked perfectly. Place articulation, vocabulary, action cards, emotion cards, etc. in the leaves. You can hide them in the leaf pile. Then, students have to rake up their sounds or the cards inside the bin. As they find a card, they have to say their sound 10 times, create a grammatically correct sentence or answer a wh-question about the card. In this Fall sensory bin, I used articulation cards from my Fall sensory bin companion.
Use with a CORE board and have students request “more”, “I want rake”, “hide”, “I found it”, “look”, “all done”, “my turn”, and “This is fun!”
Teach basic concepts “under”, by allowing the students to hide cards, mini erasers or trinkets in the leaves. Your main verb targets for the session can be “hide” and “find”. How would you use this Fall sensory bin? Share your Fall sensory bin ideas in the comments!
Use Fall themed verb action pictures in a sensory bin. Add mini pumpkins or any other type of Fall items that would add to the bin. Then, have students find “verb action” pictures, create a story with the people and vocabulary, answer “who” and “what” questions or create more complex sentences with the pictures such as “The blonder haired girl is picking up the large orange pumpkin.” These printables are in my Fall sensory bin companion.
5 Little Pumpkins Sensory Bin Idea
I don’t think Fall can go without talking about pumpkins. I saw this cute 5 Little Pumpkins Sensory Bin idea on parenting chaos’ blog and had to make one. When I was at the Dollar Tree, I saw some orange mini cup lights. You can also get orange mini cups on amazon (affiliate link) if you don’t have a Dollar Tree. Instead of using them as lights, I used them for my pumpkins.
You just need seven thick popsicle sticks, green or brown pipe cleaners, permanent marker and small orange cups. The cup lights already had little holes in them, so I pulled out the lights and replaced them with twisty pipe cleaners for the stem. My daughter drew pumpkin faces and I stuck it all in my kinetic sand box (amazon affiliate). I got the purple box from Lakeshore.
We are going to work on the concepts on/off, the verb “sit”, “fall” and the vocabulary of pumpkins, fence. We might even make up a story about what the pumpkins are doing. How would you use this sensory bin?
If you have made a sensory bin for your therapy room, I want to see it! I stay inspired when I see ideas from other SLPs and teachers. Feel free to tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie and use #slpsensorybin in your post. You can always email me pics at email@example.com
If you follow that hashtag on instagram you will be able to see ideas from other SLPs. Therapy always seems less overwhelming when I have access to more ideas for how I can plan and implement therapy. Let’s share and help each other be the rock star SLPs that we are striving to be!
Will you be walking the plank this week in your speech sessions? SLPs out there that love themed therapy, let me just tell that pirates are a BIG hit with the kids. Our younger students love the idea of pirates and all the silly lingo that pirates say. If you need ideas for Pirate speech therapy activities, this blog post has all the inspiration to help you plan engaging speech and language lessons!
Pirate Speech Therapy Activities Using Crafts
When I do push-in speech therapy lessons in my Special Day Classroom for K-2, I try to incorporate as many hands on learning activities as possible. The kids find the lessons more fun, they can take the craft home to spark conversations with parents, and it allows an opportunity for naturalistic conversations or pretend play!
Crafts can be a lot to prep, so to make things easier, find easy to prep crafts such as this pirate paper bag craft. I typically do a 20-30 minute carpet circle time lesson including a pirate book, anchor chart or movement activity. Then, the students break up into three stations. I run a station, and the teachers/instructional aids run stations. We do those for about 10 minutes each and then rotate the students to the next station. Because I didn’t run the paper bag craft station, I didn’t get to see the kids puppets. At the end of the stations, over half the class initiated conversation with me because they wanted ME to see their pirate puppet. It was amazing to hearing all the spontaneous conversation. Some students even requested to take them out at recess to play with them.
Who Stole The Treasure Activity?
I found some plastic gold coins at the Dollar Spot during the St. Patrick’s holiday. After I read a pirate book, we play the “Who Stole The Treasure?” activity. It works on object permanence, being able to have impulse control to NOT reveal if they stole the treasure, ask/answer questions with peers, and using the body language necessary for talking with peers. You can also give students the treasure and work on answering simple wh-questions. Who has the treasure? Who has the gold coins? If you have more pirate props, you can give every student an item and work on “who” questions.
Have all the students close their eyes. Explain that if the student gets a treasure chest or gold coin, that they have to keep it a secret. When all the items are hidden, pick a student or students to ask his/her peers if they have the item? Continue this activity until all the treasure is found. The printables and lesson plan are part of my Pirate Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guide.
Make Your Own Treasure Sensory Bin In Speech Therapy
To make a Treasure Sensory bin, you need a filler, fake gold coins and items to hide in the bin. I liked using kinetic sand that I got at Lakeshore Learning, but there are some good deals on amazon for kinetic sand (affiliate)
I got my container from Lakeshore, but you can use any bin. I actually prefer bins that have clasps (amazon affiliate) on the lid in case you drop the bin in transit. I hid dinkydoodad trinkets that I found on etsy in the bin. Then, students got to go hunt for treasure.
Ways To Use The Treasure Hunt Sensory Bin
Once, students went hunting for treasure, we discussed the items they found by category group, noun function, parts, etc. You can go on a categories treasure hunt using my FREE printable that you can access on this blog post.
Another way that I used this bin was to work on the verbs “bury” and “hide”. After the kids went on the treasure hunt, they got to bury the treasure so that other pirates couldn’t find their loot. Your students can work on building grammatically correct sentences and answering “who” questions. “I buried _______.” And then I asked peers, “who buried the shoe?”
Pirate Books For Speech Therapy
A quick search on pinterest will help you select a pirate themed book for therapy. YouTube also has pirate read aloud books in the event that you don’t have pirate books in your own therapy materials library. Here are a few of my favorite books that I like to use:
The Pirate Who Couldn’t Say Arrr by Angie Neal M.S. CCC-SLP is a great book written by a speech pathologist! It is a great book for teaching /r/ and uses a lot of pirate vocabulary.
YouTube Videos To Use With A Pirate Theme
This pirate YouTube video is good for following directions and a great reinforcer or movement break.
Pirate Party Preschool Song is great for getting some movement, learning pirate vocabulary & doing verb actions.
The Go Noodle crew has a Pirate Prep video that is fun for a movement break and to keep the kids engaged in the lesson.
This video can be used to work on the /ar/ sound in therapy!
What Pirate Speech Therapy Activities Do You Plan?
What pirate speech therapy activities do you plan? Did you know that September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day? This is the best time to plan pirate activities. But, honestly, you can do pirates any old time you want to in speech. I think this theme is highly motivating for our younger students. I would love to know what middle school and high school SLPs do for pirates week! Share in the comments your ideas for older students.
Where are all my Very Hungry Caterpillar fans? Using The Very Hungry Caterpillar in speech therapy is a great addition to your bug theme. I especially enjoy this book because I can incorporate a food theme as well.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Speech Therapy
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic children’s book for younger students. I use this book every year with my K-2 students. This board book comes with plush toy for The Very Hungry Caterpillar which is pretty great if you want a real caterpillar to go with your lesson. There are so many ways to adapt and use this book in therapy.
During the spring months, I love incorporating bugs into my therapy. The cool thing about an insect theme is that bugs are around all year long, so you can use this theme any time of the year. My favorite times to do bugs are Spring and Summer because that’s when those creepy crawlers come out for kids to see!
Toys and Activities for The Very Hungry Caterpillar
When I need toys, games, books or anything really, I tend to look on Amazon first. As a busy SLP and mom, I just don’t always have the time to go hunting around stores for resources. There are a TON of Very Hungry Caterpillar toys and resources for extension activities. Here are some that I found on Amazon (amazon affiliate links included for your convenience):
I enjoy doing crafts as part of my push in lessons to support basic concepts and social skills. When we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we made these sponge caterpillar crafts. It was a pretty easy craft to prep and we worked on requesting items, learning basic concepts and then initiating conversation by showing peers our craft.
Here is how I transported everything to the classroom. I found the sponges at the dollar store, used white 11 by 17 craft paper, eye stickers, black pipe cleaners cut up, and black marker to draw the legs.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Speech & Language Activities
Articulation ideas: Go on a sound hunt with the pictures from the story. Have students look and listen for words that have their sound.
Basic Concepts: Follow directions with basic concepts using props from the story.
Category ideas: Sort fruits, vegetables and junk food. Or sort food vs. insects. You can discuss if a food is healthy or junk food.
Vocabulary: Practice describing a caterpillar and butterfly by attributes. Do the same thing with the food in the story. Have a taste test to describe fruit as crunchy, juicy, sweet, sour, color, size, shape and category.
Grammar: Target present and past tense for verbs, as well as, marking plural nouns that happened in the story. The students can describe the verb actions in each picture. The caterpillar ate four strawberries.
More Language Ideas For The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Listening Comprehension: Students can practice answering wh-questions from the story. One way that I scaffold the story for some students is by asking a question every page or every 2-3 sentences. When I read the story, I will read it out loud all the way through. Then, I will use the book page by page to talk about all the details in the story. The next session when I read the story to the kids, I will stop and ask questions. At the end, we will retell the story together.
Oral Narration: Students can work on sequencing and story elements using The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book is great for students that need visual supports to remember a story because the story has lots of visuals to support the story.
Social Skills: When you create a caterpillar or butterfly craft only put one set of art supplies on the table. Students have to practice initiating, waiting, and sharing supplies with another student while creating the craft.
FUN Idea For Your K-2 Push-In Language Lesson
During my SDC K-2 push-in language lesson, we read the book, described the caterpillar and then did the caterpillar craft. The next session, I read a new caterpillar book and we then went on a bug hunt outside! You can hide insects in the grass and have students look for bugs! I am a BIG fan of TOOBS and used my insect TOOBS (amazon affiliate link) for this activity. These are the fruits and vegetable TOOB items (amazon affiliate link) I would use if you have the students pretend to be hungry caterpillars.
Easy Tip Lesson Planning Tip For SLPs with High Caseloads
When I had 75-83 students on my caseload with two Autism Special Day Classrooms and one mild-mod Special Day Classroom, I would plan activities with a similar theme for as many groups as I could. I felt that it was easier for me to learn how to teach the language and scaffold skills if I was using the same concepts for a lot of different students. I would find ways to adapt the theme for students abilities, interests and ages. So, often times, I read this book 7-10 times in a day. It was hard to keep the energy up, but it definitely made me feel less stress when planning lessons. So older students, I may not actually read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I might find a non-fiction passage or video to learn about caterpillars.
Need an insect sensory bin activity to use after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, then check out this blog post for how to make one! What toys and resources have you found for this book that you love using?
Some struggles that I have had in the therapy room are how to keep my students engaged and ways to target multiple goals in a session.
For my younger crowd sensory bins have helped solve this problem. If you are a sensory bin making SLP, then this post is for you! Today, I am going to share Spring Sensory Bins for speech therapy that will pair well with this season.
Just FYI…this post is a little longer because I think having the pictures of what your next Spring sensory bin can look like gives ya that inspiration to make it! I have an Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide for my newsletter subscribers that has insect printables and Easter egg themed printables that you can grab by going to my Sensory Bin page (The guide includes a LOT more printables). Now, let’s get inspired and see what kind of sensory bins you can make for Spring!
Spring Sensory Bins For Speech Therapy
#1. Make a sensory bin inspired by the In The Tall Tall Grass book. You can read more about this bin on my blog post HERE.
#2. Make a fun weather sensory bin with a rainy day theme like Crazy Speech World did here. I love how she used colored paper to make it feel extra spring like! Here about her sensory bin HERE.
#3. Everyone starts tending to their garden in the Spring season, so making a FUNctional articulation garden makes practicing your speech sounds hands on! Check out this articulation garden sensory bin from Speech Room News HERE.
Flower Sensory Bins For The Spring Season
Simply Speech shares how to make a bin using materials from the Target Dollar Spot.
I love having sensory bins that can be easily adapted for articulation and language goals! Check out my Flower Garden Sensory bin.
Students working on remediating the phonological process of gliding, can use this fun flower sensory bin to practice from Allison Fors. Plus, it is a FREE download!
You can also go to the Dollar Store and buy fake flowers and mini planting pots to create a flower planting sensory bin!
Spring Sensory Bins To Teach Vocabulary & Grammar
Ms. Gardenia’s Speech Room has a spring themed bin to work on wh-questions, vocabulary and more! I love the dirt as the bin filler!!
I created a Spring Sensory Bin Companion that comes with printables to work on verbs, basic concepts, vocabulary and more! There are reinforcer sensory bin activities as well as an articulation themed bin. In my companion, I also include articulation and language cheat sheets to help you with implementing therapy without having to think of words in the spring season!
If you love doing seasonal therapy and using sensory bins, then you may want to invest in getting my seasonal sensory bin bundle HERE.
I love sharing other sensory bins from SLPs because it helps us with planning therapy. Better to have more inspiring therapy ideas to pull from, right!?
Need More Sensory Bin Inspiration?
For all of my SLPs out there that LOVE sensory bins, hop on over to my sensory bin pinterest board for more inspiration. On my Sensory Bin page, you can find lots of resources for making your next sensory bin, including my Sensory Bin Webinar that you can watch the replay on youtube.
If you are super busy and struggle with completing DIY therapy projects, then come join my 5 day Sensory bin email challenge! Each day, I give you a small “to do” to complete to get your next sensory bin up and running.
When the Spring weather starts to appear, so do all my favorite spring books. Today, I wanted to share how you can make an In The Tall Tall Grass Sensory Bin. I will share how to make your In The Tall Tall Grass sensory bin, where you can find the book and how to use the sensory bin in therapy. (amazon affiliate links included for your convenience)
I am a big fan of using literacy to build language. As an extension activity, you can make a sensory bin that uses elements from the book In The Tall Tall Grass (you can find this book on amazon).
How To Make An In The Tall Tall Grass Sensory Bin
A bin or container of some kind. The Dollar Store has metal tins or you can find a container at Target that has clasps.
Black beans for dirt (or anything you can find that can look like dirt)
For all you SLPs on a budget, you can find printables from the book at Simply Speech and use those in the bin.
Another way to make “grass” for your sensory bin is to dye pasta green. I posted a quick video tutorial on my Facebook Page that you can watch and see how easy it is to make!
How To Use In The Tall Tall Grass Sensory Bin In Therapy
Articulation – practice your students speech sounds with the items in the bin. You can use simple sentence frames that have your student’s sound. Here are some examples:
-I spy _______ /s-blends/
-I see _______ /s/
-I caught _________ /k/
-I will get _________ /g/
-I like to play with _______ /l-blends/
Can you think of any more functional articulation carrier phrases?
Story retell – Work on answering questions from the story as well as retell what bugs and animals were seen in the tall tall grass.
Grammar – Work on the verbs: hide, fly, crawl and see while playing with the items in the sensory bin.
Vocabulary – Have your students describe the insects/animals by attributes. Sort the insects and animals into two category groups. Or classify the objects by the insects/animals that can fly/have wings vs. those that crawl.
Basic Concepts – Target the concepts in/out, above/below, and next to with the insects and animals in the bin.
Functional Communication – Work on initiation, turn taking, requesting for items, making comments, protesting, sharing opinion or asking to be “all done” with an item.
If you want to make a hands on craft with the In The Tall Tall Grass, you can head over to Simply Speech on her easy tutorial and free printable for the craft. Speech Room News has a blog post with a similar craft too. I use this craft every year!
What are your favorite resources?
How would you use these sensory bin in therapy? What other spring books or sensory bins have you used? I would love to know!!
Check out all my sensory bin ideas HERE. Need more Spring themed therapy ideas? Here are some blog posts that you will love with a Spring theme:
I am a BIG fan of hands on activities! Sometimes I think I need the hands on experience more than my speechies lol. Sensory bins have been a great way for me to incorporate speech and language goals in an engaging way. Today, I wanted to share how to make your own “I spy” sensory bin. Plus, I have lots of great ways to incorporate language to share too (also, there may be a free printable involved).
How to make the “I Spy” Sensory Bin
I bought a 15 quart sized plastic container at Target (make sure to get the one with the lid that has clasps). I own two plastic containers. I keep all my filler materials in gallon sized plastic bags. That way I can easily change out fillers and materials without having to buy more plastic bins! Next, I bought some jumbo sized straws at the dollar store. Just cut them up with a pair of scissors and there is your filler. Then, I bought some fun trinkets at this etsy store called Dinky Doodads.
You can all sorts of random little toy items in the set. It has a wide variety, so I was very pleased with all the times of items I received. That’s all you have to do to make this bin!
How to use the “I Spy” Sensory Bin In Speech Therapy
First, I plan it out! Each time I make a new sensory bin, I take some time to think about goals I could target as well as verbs, vocabulary and related books that I could pair with the bin. I am storing these planner sheets in plastic protectors in a binder. This way, I can reference the planner binder to remember what I did last year when I want to pull it out later. Take the time to plan, so I don’t have to think later down the road. Trying to work smarter this year lol.
When I first start the session, I allowed my students to explore the sensory bin. They were able to pick out 3-5 items that they really liked. We then used those items that they picked out to target their goals!
Goals to target with the “I Spy Sensory Bin
Use the items to build sentences using adjectives and prepositional phrases.
While exploring the sensory bin, you can work on initiating comments and turn taking in structured conversation with your little speechies.
Create a fun narrative using the items the students selected from the bin.
Describe the items by attributes and adjectives.
Play “I spy” categories and have your students go on the hunt for items that would fit different in different categories. You can do this receptively by calling out a category group or expressively have students give a clue like “I spy a fruit.” Then, the other students have to go in search of the item that they found in the bin.
Have students follow directions using their trinkets.
Use a wh-question graphic organizer to describe the items in the bin. Students can explain who would use the item, where can you find it, what do you do with it, when would you use it and why would someone use it.
Grab this FREE category printable to use along side the sensory bin. Place each trinket on the category once the student finds an item. You can have students name more items in the category group as you search.
What do you think? Will you make this “I Spy” sensory bin? Which age groups do you think would like this? I used this with my K-3 graders and everyone had a ball.
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