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.
I am a big fan of sensory bins! With the winter season upon us, I had to come up with some winter sensory bins to share with you all. Sensory bins are tactile experiences that are contained in a container like a plastic bin, tray, or shoe box. Bringing in hands on interactive lessons is something that I love to do because you can adapt them in so many ways for your speech and language activities.
The winter season allows for so many different language themes. Today I wanted to share a round up of winter sensory bins that you can use in speech therapy. If you are needing more ideas for creating your own sensory bins in speech therapy, check out my blog post on sensory bins HERE. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience in this blog post.
Grab my Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide FREE Printable (which has some FREE winter printables)
Winter Sensory Bins To Increase Language & Fun
Penguins are a great theme to target during the winter months. All you need for this bin is a container, water beads or use REAL ice, Styrofoam for the glaciers/ice caps and these cute penguins! Of course you can keep it simple and use white sand too. Pair this winter sensory bin with the books Pierre The Penguin or Tacky The Penguin.
Skills to target with the penguin sensory bin:
Basic concepts- in, out, under, over, behind, in front, on
Verbs- waddle, jump, dive, eat, hunt
Story retell- create a fun story with the penguins using a story graphic organizer
Describing penguins by attributes
Snowball Fight Sensory Bin
Who doesn’t love a fun snowball fight? Fill your next winter sensory bin with cotton balls from the dollar store, my fun winter printables from my Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide and you got yourself a load of language skills to target!
Skills to target with the Snowball Fight sensory bin:
Basic concepts- in, out, under, over, behind, in front, on, next to
Verbs- throw, duck, hide, dodge, laugh
Story retell- create a fun story with the children talking about the ultimate snowball fight
Grammar & Vocabulary- Create sentences about what people are doing in the pictures and describe the nouns/people by attributes
Social Skills- Work on turn taking and having a conversation with the people. Discuss the social rules for a snowball fight. Chart out some phrases to say during a snowball fight and how people could be feeling.
Mitten Match Up Sensory Bin
I found this white sand at the dollar store and bought about 5 packs to fill my mitten sensory bin. I love reading the book The Mitten every winter. On Fridays, I push into my Special Day K-2 classroom and we do a combination of whole group lessons and language stations. These mitten match up activities in my TPT store are perfect for stations because I include skills for speech and language targets.
Skills included in the mitten match up sensory bin:
Antonyms & Synonyms
Tone of voice/conversation
This sensory bin idea comes from Speech2Me. I love how easy this one is to make! She got cotton balls (find them at the dollar store), foam mittens, and then the stimulus picture items are glued on the center of the foam mittens. She used clothespins and string to attach the mitten pairs. You can make categories, verb tenses, answering noun-functions and the list goes on!
Winter sensory bins can also be designed around some of your winter themed books! One of my readers, Tatiana Guile, school based SLP, sent me this idea for using a sensory bin with The Mitten. I loved all of her ideas. She had her students rip pieces of white paper for the snow (fine motor skill & her students loved doing it). Then they placed printable of the characters in the bin along with some yarn (the yarn was unraveled like at the end of the story when the mitten bursts and all the animals scatter). Then they had a snowstorm and snow fight. After the snow fight the students acted out the story and explored the sensory bin. This is waaaayyyyy more FUN than a worksheet!
Arctic Winter Sensory Bin
This winter sensory bin is using the same white sand that I used with my mitten match sensory bin. I added some cotton balls and some arctic figurines from my Arctice Toob Set. The blue glass beads are from the dollar store. These act as the ocean/water in the sensory bin.
Skills included in the Arctic sensory bin:
Story telling with the animal/people figurines
Describing the weather and background of a place in the arctic including how people would feel, what clothes should they wear
Basic concepts- before/after, next to, behind, near, far, etc.
Grammar & Vocabulary- Used winter themed vocabulary and verbs to describe what the animals/people are doing.
What types of winter sensory bins have you created this cold season? Email pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your latest therapy ideas!
The Gingerbread Man is a story that I use EVERY year. It is the perfect book for December. I love this book because it has repetitive language and lots of characters to discuss! Plus, if you can’t celebrate holidays during December this is still a fun theme!! For your little ones that need to have their hands moving, a gingerbread man sensory bin is a great way to target language.
After you have read The Gingerbread Man book (amazon affiliate links included) to your students, bring out the sensory bin to work on retelling the story, describing the characters by attributes and using grammatically correct sentences about the characters.
How To Make The Gingerbread Man Sensory Bin
You can make a sensory bin with any box, but I like the plastic boxes that have a lid and those foldable clasps on the sides. This helps keep all the filler items secure when moving the bin because I have had a spill when carrying this to my car! I found mine at Target for less than $6. They also have them on amazon (Amazon affiliate link included). You can fill the box with anything, but I like to fill it with dried black beans that I got from Target. I also added some blue glass beads that I got from the dollar store for the river. Then, just print out my gingerbread man sensory bin template on white card stock. Cut out the character props and fold on the lines. Glue together and you have some fun characters to place in the box!
With my sentence strips we targeted the verb “is”, “chased” and “ran”. We also can retell the story using conjunctions and the key story elements. This can also be a way to describe each of the characters by attributes. Your fluency students can practice their techniques while retelling the story or creating sentences about the characters. Use the characters to work on basic concepts! How else would you use this gingerbread man sensory bin in speech therapy? If you are looking for more fun sensory bin ideas, check out my Insect Sensory Bin, Easter Sensory Bin, or my March Sensory Bin.
Easter is this coming Sunday and I am not yet on Spring break #boo. I have one more week to do therapy, so I decided to bring some Easter sensory bins into the therapy room. My kids are loving my sensory bins! If you haven’t my recent blog posts about sensory bins, check out my March sensory bins and Insect Sensory Bins.
I found these bunny erasers at Target and snatched them up! I am sticking different amounts of the erasers in each egg and then students get to pick an egg from my basket. The student with the most bunnies wins! This can be used for a reinforcer activity or to work on requesting, counting, basic concepts more, less, and most. You can target verbs: hop, jump, open, pick, find, close, more, look, run, hide, etc.
I have a very diverse cultural population with many different religions and backgrounds, so one of my ideas (includes a free printable) is a non-religious activity for those of us that can’t use an Easter theme. I call this my baby chicks sensory bin. I found a little squeezable chick at Target, which is my momma chick. She is waiting patiently for her baby chicks to hatch! I made a printable that includes a game option as well as an adjective sheet and some sounds I treat most often with my little speechies.
For my social skill groups, I am filling my eggs with strips from my Social Skills Break Curriculum. You can fill these eggs with any stimulus items! Add in strips for following directions, verbs that they have to create sentences with, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, etc. I have also seen on pinterest people writing with sharpie on each side of the egg and students have to hunt for the correct match!
It’s all about sensory bins for me this spring season! I love using hands on learning experiences to target speech and language goals. My latest therapy favorite are insect sensory bins. I do an insect theme in speech every year, so my insect sensory bin is the perfect addition to my stash of materials.
Between the dollar store and Target, I got all the supplies I needed to make this insect sensory bin! Check out my March Sensory Bins blog post about how to be festive this week for St. Patrick’s day. Psst…I have more spring sensory bins coming your way!!
I grabbed the black beans and plastic bing from Target ($1.54 for the beans & $3.84 for the bin), glass beads and mod podge from the dollar store and my FREE printable insect pdf!
You can target so many skills with this sensory bin! Turn taking, describing by attributes, building MLU and grammar, pretend play and so much more!!
I also made this fun insect sensory bin with real toy bugs! (Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience) I found the green grass in the party wrapping section at the dollar store. Amazon has lots of fun bug sets! I got this insect set and these giant insects for the bin.
I found the net and some magnifying glasses at the dollar store. Cute, huh!?
I have been pairing my sensory bins with my Insect Task Cards & Activities. The magnifying glasses have QR codes to really cool youtube videos about each insect!
What do you think? How would you use these insect sensory bins in therapy?