Apple Sensory Bin Ideas for Early Elementary

Apple Sensory Bin Ideas for Early Elementary

During the fall season, a great theme to plan for your speech therapy caseload is an apple theme!

Your students can relate to apples because they are snacking on them, baking with them, and enjoying sweet drinks like apple cider!

Today, I will share all my best tips and ideas for making an apple sensory bin. Using a sensory bin after reading an apple-themed book can be a great way to keep your students engaged while also working on vocabulary from the theme.

Apple Sensory Bin Filler Ideas

Apple sensory bin ideas for your speech therapy caseload!

Here are some of my favorite apple sensory bin fillers (Amazon affiliate links):

Shredded red or green paper
Red or green pom poms
Dyed dry pasta red or green

Must-Have Apple Materials for Your Bin

One of my favorite finds is these plastic apples. You can add them to a sensory bin, set them up as a dramatic play apple stand, or hide them around your speech room. I love that I can use my apple-themed verb and vocabulary set from the Themed Therapy SLP membership by printing four to a page. Check out a demo on my Instagram.

Need some apples to throw in your bin? Use these fake apples from Michaels. They are just the right size to be thrown into a sensory bin!

To make an apple orchard, you need toilet paper rolls or Dixie cups. You can see more on Instagram. Cut slits on both sides, print out some apple trees, and slide the trees onto the toilet paper roll. You can then add those to your bins. If you need printables for apple trees, the ones in the picture are from the Themed Therapy SLP membership.

Get inspired with apple sensory bin ideas for speech therapy!

Apple-Themed Speech Therapy Activities for Prek-5th Grade

If you don’t want to stress about planning themed therapy, join the Themed Therapy SLP membership. It’s designed to take lesson planning off your plate so you can enjoy your speech therapy sessions. Join here!

How To Use These Apple Sensory Bins in Speech Therapy

Easy apple sensory bin ideas for speech therapy!

One of the BEST ways to use themed sensory bins is to pair them with a book. You can reinforce all the vocabulary or use the bin as a story retell prop kit. If you want to see an example of a story prop kit, check out the one I shared about Apple Trouble.

For the apple orchard sensory bin, you can drop the pom poms in the dixie cups or the toilet paper rolls. You can work on in/out, up/down, fall, pick, gather, eat, bite, etc.

Furthermore, you can turn it into a game where the student rolls the die and sees how many apples they can pick.

For the bins with the plastic apples, put mini trinkets with your student’s sounds, and work on inferencing by putting small picture cards inside and having students guess. Before putting the apples in a bin, have students find all the apples that fell from the tree. Put them around your room and give receptive language commands to reinforce spatial concepts.

When students select a plastic apple in the bin, you can target open/close, in/out, look, what, find, etc. Have your student work on placing the apples in and out of a basket and other basic concepts.

When using the apple sensory bin with the fake apples from Michael’s, put your favorite speech or language flashcards in the bin with paper clips attached! Then, your students can select the cards with a magnetic wand. Have your students put their flashcards on the table. Give your students clues for items; they can cover them up with a fake apple when they find them.

How Would You Use These Apple-Themed Sensory Bins in Your Sessions?

SLPs have the best tips and ideas for maximizing the use of material with students. Considering your speech therapy caseload, how would you use these bins to work on goals? Share in the comments to help give SLPs more ideas for re-purposing these themed bins.

Need more apple-themed ideas? Check out these blog posts:

Apple Co-Teaching Blog Post

Apple Activities for Middle School

All About Me – Likes and Dislikes

All About Me – Likes and Dislikes

All About Me is a versatile theme for preschool and early elementary students.

You can use an All About Me theme any time of the year, but it is an ideal theme to use at the start of the school year.

By having students talk about their likes and dislikes, you can build rapport and learn more about what they love.

In this blog post, you will learn some ideas to build an All About Me Likes and Dislikes lesson plan that you can use for small groups and co-teaching.

All About Me Book Recommendations

Have an easy all-about-me-themed therapy lesson plan for your speech therapy groups. Kids love talking about their likes and dislikes, and you can cover a lot of goals!

Start your session by reading a themed book such as What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel-Nola, or I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. (Amazon affiliate links included.)

You can use either of these books to discuss what your students like about themselves.

As you discuss what kids like about themselves based on their physical features, you can also target hobbies, values, food, colors, activities, and more!


What are some of your favorites all about me likes and dislikes books? Share in the comments of this blog post.

All About Me Likes and Dislikes YouTube Songs

Using YouTube songs that tie into your theme is a great way to incorporate movement into your sessions. It’s even better when the music aligns with the concepts you are working on in your session.

You can use these Super Simple songs to work on the following speech and language goals:

CORE words: like/don’t like, yes/no
Adjectives: yum, gross
Making comments: No way! I would eat that!

After you read one of the recommended books, turn on this song. You can incorporate hand movements, yes/no visual icons, or iconic gestures for yum or gross to increase engagement.

Have an easy all about me themed therapy lesson plan for your speech therapy groups. Kids love talking about their likes and dislikes and you can cover a lot of goals!

YouTube Videos to Share Like/Don’t Like Opinions About Food

Did you know there are likes and dislikes on YouTube you can use on a SMARTboard or your laptop to discuss what your students enjoy or don’t enjoy?

It’s a great way to keep your students engaged while you work on answering yes/no questions, making comments (i.e., yummy, yucky), naming other items in the category group of the thing, and working on MLU.

If you want the videos to pause at specific points of the video with a question, you can add these videos to EdPuzzle and create stimulus items with the videos that are related to your student’s goals. Here is a YouTube tutorial on creating lessons with EdPuzzl on my channel. 

Here is some All About Me Likes and Dislikes videos you can use in therapy:

Likes and Dislikes ESL by ABC Educational Channel

English for Beginners Likes and Dislikes

I Like and I Don’t Like Animated Book

Like Don’t Like – English Grammar for Kids with Novakid

I Like- I Don’t Like by Giulia Filosi 

What I Like Sensory Bin for Speech

Have an easy all-about-me-themed therapy lesson plan for your speech therapy groups. Kids love talking about their likes and dislikes, and you can cover a lot of goals!

You can make a “What I Like” sensory bin that you can use as an extension activity over several speech therapy sessions.

To make this sensory bin, put in whatever filler you want! Some of my fave fillers on my website can be found on this page.

Then, add pictures of different food or items from other categories. Your students can select an item and then share if they like or don’t like it. If you need ready-to-go pictures and visual supports for this bin, you can get these printables in the All About Me themed unit for August in the Themed Therapy SLP membership.

With the printable pictures, you can work on yes/no questions, receptive and expressive noun-functions, inferencing, describing, using sentences with I like/I don’t like, and syntax/morphology.

For more getting-to-know-you type of activities, check out this blog post.

All About Me Likes and Dislikes Toy Activity

If you own these All About Me houses (Amazon affiliate link included), these are perfect for talking about likes and dislikes. You can put mini trinkets of items inside the homes and have students open them up. They can pull out the thing and share if they like or don’t like it. To learn more about mini trinkets, check out this blog post.

While doing this activity, you can also work on word opposites in/out, full/empty, and open/close.

Have an easy all-about-me-themed therapy lesson plan for your speech therapy groups. Kids love talking about their likes and dislikes, and you can cover a lot of goals!

What Are Your Favorite All About Me Therapy Ideas?

Have an easy all-about-me-themed therapy lesson plan for your speech therapy groups. Kids love talking about their likes and dislikes, and you can cover a lot of goals!

Do you have some all-about-me activities to target likes and dislikes? Share your favorite activities and resources in the comments of this blog post to add to this lesson plan! You can extend this theme for at least two weeks with various similar activities. If you need more information about why it is beneficial for you and your students to do a theme for longer than a week, check out this Real Talk SLP podcast episode

Pirate Treasure Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

Pirate Treasure Sensory Bin for Speech Therapy

What kid wouldn’t want to hunt a pirate treasure sensory bin for mystery jewels and trinkets?

A pirate theme is ONE of those themes that NEED a sensory bin to pair with your books and themed props.

You can use many lovely fillers and materials to make a pirate treasure sensory bin. I will show you all the options today in this blog post!

Sensory Bin Fillers You Can Use

Need help making a pirate treasure sensory bin for your speech therapy sessions? This blog post has everything laid out for you so that you can make it in an instant!

You can fill up the entire sensory bin with kinetic sand, or you can do a mixture of sand and water elements. For my bin, I took fillers I already had from my beach bin that you can see how to make HERE. Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience.

Here are some ideas for water:

Pirate Materials for Your Bin

You definitely can use pirate props from toys and games you already own. But, if you don’t have any in your speech therapy stash, check out this blog post for a round-up of pirate sets you can use in your bin.

I have toys from the iPlay pirate toy set and this dramatic play set in the bin pictured.

Here is a list of other pirate-themed props you can purchase to add to your bin:

 Pirate ship prop (4 inches in length)

Mini Golden Pirate Treasure Chest

Pirate figurines

Gold Coins and Jewels

Mini trinkets – Dinkydoodads, SpeechTreeCo, PlumTreeProducts 


When in doubt, use what you already have or head to Dollar Tree during St. Patrick’s Day holiday and get some of those golden coins. Save them for a pirate sensory bin. See more about the gold sensory bin in this blog post.

Need Pirate-Themed Materials for your Prek-5th Grade Caseload?

If you love doing a theme-based approach with your elementary caseload, but don’t have the TIME or the energy to come up with engaging activities, join the Themed Therapy SLP membership. We have monthly themed units ready to go that you can adapt across your caseload’s ages and goals. Sign up today!

How to Use Your Pirate Sensory Bin for Play-Based Speech Therapy

Your students will LOVE working on their goals while they play with this bin. For targeting CORE words, you can model “look, more, mine, yes, no, here, there, find, and open.”

Easily target verbs while playing, such as dig, hunt, look, find, bury, hide, open, discover, and steal.

For your speech sound disorder goals, pick a target word or sound-loaded carrier phrase to use throughout the activity, such as “Show me the ______.” or “Yo ho go.” If you bury sound-specific mini trinkets, you will get LOTS of target practice. Read more about mini trinkets HERE

Teach basic concepts, answering wh-questions, story retell, and syntax/morphology are some of the other goals you can target with this bin. 

More Ways to Use This Pirate Treasure Sensory Bin

Whenever you make a themed sensory bin, you gotta pair it with a themed book! After you read the book, you can reinforce vocabulary and concepts from the story in an engaging way for your students.

If you have some fun pirate dress-up props, you can assign a student to be the ship’s captain! The captain can give orders on where to dig and look for treasure. 

Your students can also take turns hiding treasure in the kinetic sand. While one student is hiding the treasures, the other student is doing a quick drill for a minute. Then, each student can switch roles. 

Review tier II vocabulary words and then use the sensory bin to demonstrate the words in action such as with the words discover, bury, bounty, anchor, crew, escape or greedy.

What Would You Put in Your Pirate Treasure Sensory Bin?

Do you have a favorite pirate-theme material or filler you love to use in your sensory bins? Let me know what you would put in your sensory bin in the comments. Better yet, tell me how you would target speech and language goals using this bin too!

SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

Have you ever had visual supports and cheat sheets that you like to access for your sensory bins in your speech therapy sessions? But, you aren’t sure where to store them so you can access them easily? You are lucky because I have the ultimate SLP hack for sensory bin material storage to share with you today!

Top Tip for Staying Organized With Your Speech Therapy Materials

This SLP hack will help you keep all your visual supports and play therapy cheat sheets together in the sensory bin!

One way you can stay efficient with keeping your materials organized is by having them together in one spot! With just some Velcro dots and page protectors (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience), you can keep your visual supports and cheat sheets in the bin.

If you need some more sensory bin organizational tips, check out this blog post. I use a similar method of organizing for my speech sound disorders by having a container where I store all my tools, data sheets, visuals, and materials so I can grab anything I need at the moment. Check out how to make your speech sound container on this blog post.

SLP Hack for Sensory Bin Material Storage

When running mixed groups or seeing students back to back, it’s nice to reference your cheat sheets during the session. But, if you aren’t careful, all your speech therapy materials can become scattered all over your room. Most times, we school-based SLPs don’t have tons of time to put visuals and sensory bin materials back neatly in their storage container or binder. So, when using a sensory bin, you want everything you need to be easily put back in the bin.

Once you slide your cheat sheet into a page protector, add Velcro dots to the lid of the container and the page protector. Then, stick the cheat sheet to the Velcro. Now, you can grab the visuals quickly during a session!

You can see this in action on Instagram

Need These Sensory Bin Visual Rules and Cheat Sheets?

Back when I started using sensory bins, I quickly realized that some of my students needed me to help them understand the expectations for how to interact with the bin activity. That’s why I have a visual poster to help remind students what to do! We want to keep germs away while using the bin, and this has been so helpful for my students. Since I used the visual support so often, I needed to have it handy at the drop of a hat! That’s why this SLP hack to put it on the top of the container’s lid has helped me have the tools I need now.

If you need this visual and the printables for a flower sensory bin, I want to invite you to attend a LIVE webinar to learn “How to Use Sensory Bins to Cover Speech and Language Goals.” Click the picture below to sign up! You get access to the webinar replay for two weeks.

Sign Up For the Sensory Bin Webinar and Get LOTS of Tips for Using Sensory Bins

Tickets are $9 and include:

-1 hour CMH units (Clinical Maintenance Hours)

-Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide – step-by-step instructions and recommendations to help you find the right bin, fillers, and materials to make your sensory bin with a visual rules poster, storage ideas, and printables to make bins

-$15 worth of sensory bin materials

-A fun learning environment that will answer all your questions about using sensory bins in speech therapy.

What Sensory Bin Hacks Do You Use?

This SLP hack will help you keep your visual supports and play therapy cheat sheets together in the sensory bin!

Do you have an SLP hack for keeping your sensory bin materials together? Or, just tips for keeping students engaged while using a sensory bin? Let me know your hack or information in the comments!

If you need some more sensory bin ideas, here are a few of my faves:

I Spy Sensory Bin (Great for mixed groups)

Ocean Sensory Bin

Penguin Sensory Bin

Snow Sensory Bin with Plow Trucks

Epic Beach Sensory Bin For Speech Therapy

Epic Beach Sensory Bin For Speech Therapy

Making a beach sensory bin as an extension activity for your beach-themed books can be a great way to cover a lot of speech and language goals and keep your students engaged.

Typically, when I plan my sessions, I find books that fit the theme I want to teach and then plan some extension activities that include vocabulary and concepts about the theme.

Today, I will show you how you can make an epic beach sensory bin and save time hunting around for all the items. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience in the blog post. I get a small commission on items purchased at no additional cost to you. 

Sensory Bin Filler Ideas


When it comes to your sensory bin filler, you can add elements representing ocean water and a sandy shore. Kinetic sand can work great for the shore, and there are a variety of options for your ocean as listed below:

Blue Pom Pom balls

Blue plastic rocks

Blue shredded paper 

Cut up blue straws

Blue water beads

Blue glass beads

Blue dyed dry rice, pasta, or chickpeas

I used kinetic sand, blue plastic rocks, and shredded blue paper for my sensory bin.

Materials to Add to Your Sensory Bin

It can sometimes be hard to find mini figurines and elements related to your sensory bin, but I found some CUTE beach-themed items in a most unlikely place, cake toppers!

You can use these beach cake toppers to have umbrellas, recliners, palm trees, shells, and more! You can get mini buckets, shells, and mini paper umbrellas at Michael’s to add to your bin. Here is another beach cake topper set in case you want to compare which one has the elements you need for your bin.

I used the ocean animal TOOBS that I have, or here is another set that would work well for ocean animals. 

Use this epic beach sensory bin to cover speech and language goals

Beach Books to Pair with This Sensory Bin

Here are some beach-themed books that would pair nicely with your sensory bin:

Beach Day by Karen Roosa

Curious George Goes to the Beach by H.A. Rey

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer

When a Dragon Moves In by Jody Moore

Sun, Sun by Brad Gray

Do you use one of these books in therapy? Or, have a recommendation for a book to use with a beach theme? Let me know your recs in nteh comments of this blow post. 

Therapy Ideas for Using Your Beach Sensory Bin

In therapy, you can target noun functions with the beach items, verb actions, answering wh-questions, basic concepts, and social-pragmatic language. The easiest way to keep things streamlined with your mixed groups is to have a list of words by your students’ target sound. Having the word list makes it easier to remember what you can target with all the students in your group.

For example, you can say, “Who swam up to shore?” to work on ‘who’ questions. But, you can also work on /s-blends/ and /sh/ with that question. How would you use this beach sensory bin with your students? Let me know in the comments! Would love more ideas. 

Need more Summer-Themed Sensory Bin Ideas

If you are on the hunt for more summer-themed sensory bins, check out how you can make an ocean sensory bin. You can also check out how to make a “Can You Find It?” sensory bin with different seasonal vocabulary including summer! To make mixed groups easier, you can grab the summer-themed sensory bin companion that comes with printables and cheat sheets to help you target all the speech and language goals in your group. If you make this sensory bin, I would love to see it! Tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie

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. You can sign up for monthly or annual subscription options in the Themed Therapy SLP membership

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!