Using sensory bins in your speech therapy sessions can help you cover many skills with just ONE bin. Pair your sensory bins with your favorite books or themed therapy. Sensory bins are easy to adapt for different goals, and your students’ engagement increases when you use them! This page has links to resources that I use to make sensory bins for my therapy sessions. Use this page as a reference guide to help you find the sensory bins you need for your caseload. If you are looking for sensory bin lesson plans, the Themed Therapy SLP Membership has cheat sheets and printables for themed sensory bins. Amazon affiliate links for items to buy for your convenience.
Why You Need to Try Speech Therapy Sensory Bins
Materials needed for making a Sensory Bin
- Plastic bin– I found very affordable bins at Target. They have clasps and different sizes. This is a six-pack from amazon. You can find this 15 quart latch box on amazon as well.
- Old shoebox or packaging box
- Basket or container of any kind
- Disposable metal tin tray– You can find them at the dollar store and/or a grocery store
- Pencil box or photo task card box
Ideas for Sensory Bin Fillers
After you find the container you want to use, the next step is finding fillers to add to your sensory bin. These are just ideas to help you with planning your next sensory bin activity. You can keep your sensory bin simple by only having black or brown beans. This way you always have a consistent filler that can be stored in your plastic bin. You would just add the desired materials you want and can easily change out materials for your students.
- Black/brown beans– You can find these at the dollar store and Target
- Rice– You can dye your rice different colors and store in gallon sized plastic bags. Here is a tutorial for how to dye your rice.
- Insta Snow– You can make your own DIY snow or grab this insta snow on amazon that you use add water.
- Kinetic sand, moon dough or playdoh- You can find these on amazon, at Target or you make your own. Pinterest has recipes that you can find.
- Water and ice- Using water can be a fun and free filler for your sensory bin. Ice is a great filler to teach cold and how water freezes and melts.
- Water beads– These are wet gel beads. I was able to find some at the dollar store in small jars.
- Shredded Paper- Use the paper from your paper shredder or the gift packaging paper that you can find at the dollar store or Target.
- Foam letters-These can be great for adding texture to your filler as well as have students search for their articulation sound letters.
- Bean bag fillers– These are small pellets that would be good for acting as snow
- Dirt- I found white sand (perfect for snow) at The Dollar Store or you can grab sand on amazon.
- DIY slime, salt, shaving cream, playdoh
- rocks, sticks, hay, dirt and leaves (a nature bin)
- Popcorn kernels and dried pasta
- Cottonballs, tissue paper, fake leaves, cut up straws, plastic bottle tops, pom poms bring in different textures to the sensory bin.
- Legos & blocks
- Small trinkets for an “I Spy” sensory bin from Dinkydoodads on Etsy
If you want to try out some sensory bins and need some printable materials, grab this free Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide. It also includes a visual rules poster to help you teach your student show to interact with a sensory bin.
Materials To Use With The Sensory Bin
There is a wide variety of materials to use with sensory bins in speech therapy. You can create bins around books, seasonal themes, categories (i.e. transportation, food, clothes, etc.), and vocabulary concepts.
Card Sets From Commercial Companies– Super Duper, Linguisystems, and Educational Insights have some good sets that can be adapted into your sensory bins.
Story Retell Cards and Resources– I love putting story sequencing cards in my sensory bins and the students finding the picture card that happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. I have some book companions in my TPT store that have story sequencing cards. I also love Let’s Talk With Whitney SLP and Crazy Speech World’s book companions.
More Materials to Use With Sensory Bins
Small Items– Dice, small erasers, legos, marbles, magnetic chips, dominoes, etc.
Cards From TeachersPayTeachers resources– I will often use my stimulus cards from my TPT resources and the ones that I have bought! My Flower Garden Sensory Bin For Speech & Language and Mitten Match-Up Winter Sensory Bin helps me cover a lot of goals with one sensory bin activity!
Small Toys & Figurines– I have found small toys at The Dollar Store, Target, and Amazon. I usually will think of the themed sensory bin that I want and then will search for small materials I would need to go with that theme. For example, if I want to do an insect sensory bin, I would go searching for a small net, bug catcher container, magnifying glass, and small insect toys. Squinkies and Shopkins are cute, small toys that kids love. Legos and other toy sets would be perfect!
Disney Figurine Sets– These are great for story creation, following directions with basic concepts, and described by attributes. We have the Finding Dory Set and the Frozen Set in our house. (I may have “borrowed” them from my children at certain times out of the year). You can sometimes find these types of toys at the Dollar Store. I found some Minion toys at a thrift store that are perfect for sensory bin play!
Find things around the house– Cups, kitchen utensils, letter magnets, fine motor tools small themed erasers, plastic easter eggs, bath toys, pencil toppers, pipe cleaners, and play food are also great accessories to include in the sensory bin.