Blog Archive

Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Create a Fall Sensory Book Bin

Sensory play is an important part of a child's development. Children learn through exploration using their 5 senses. Through taste, touch, smell, sight and sound, children develop social, emotional, cognitive, motor and language skills. Sensory bins provide learning opportunities while having FUN. Since children love to make messes, you might want to think of it as "mess in a box."  For children with sensory impairments, sensory bottles, bags and bins can also be very calming by providing the exact stimulus their sensory systems are seeking.

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for speech therapy literacy and language activities. Children are always fascinated with pumpkins, acorns, squirrels, apples, scarecrows, and farm activities. This opens up opportunities to experience some amazing books, as well as provide hands-on learning opportunities in sensory filled activities.

In this post, I want to share with you tips on creating fall sensory book bins.

To create a sensory bin, the first thing you need is  a container. I use two different size containers for my sensory bins. I have an under-the-bed box in my speech room that 4 students can easily sit around and play in together. I also have a portable bin that I take with me to my other therapy site that is much smaller and easy to transport. I found this craft container at Michael's with a removable tray that's perfect for storing small items and cards.

craft boxes for sensory bins
Next, you will need to decide on the base substance or the filler. This can be colored rice, beans, colored sand, water beads, shredded paper, or even water. For my fall sensory bin, I chose dried beans. The pinto and kidney beans are brownish red, easy to clean up and perfect for scooping and pouring. Using beans also allows students to play and explore through a new medium. What you add next to your fall sensory bin is up to your imagination. Everything in my fall bin is either from my home or from the Dollar Tree, including: an ice cream scoop; a tiny scarecrow; fall garland that I pulled apart; a package of small plastic pumpkins and apples; glass acorns; and mini plastic clear bottles. Overall, I spent less than $10 for hours of entertainment.

fall sensory bin
I've included a few of my favorite fall books that can be paired with a sensory bin.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Book! by Lucile Colandro is written in the similar fashion as the other books in her series. In this silly read aloud, the old lady swallows some leaves, a pumpkin, some clothes, a rope, and a pole. What does she create with these fall items? A scarecrow! Click HERE to view my book companion for literacy activities. Comprehension question cards and story pictures can be placed in a sensory bin for students to interact with.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Louis Ehlert is the life story of a maple leaf. This beautiful book also includes information about different types of birds and an appendix explaining the different parts of a tree. Students can compare and contrast different types of leaves from a sensory box or categorize them by color, shape and attributes.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, What do you See? is an adapted book that introduces emergent readers to basic fall vocabulary using repetitive text and rhyme. My adapted book can be purchased from my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE. Students can pick the interactive pictures from the sensory bin to place inside the adapted book. Students can also find items from the book in the bin and match objects to pictures, such as: an acorn, pumpkin, leaf, and apple.

old lady who swallows some leavesScarecrow Scarecrow What do you seeRed Leaf Yellow Leaf

In this post, I've elaborated on the many possibilities and uses of a fall sensory bin in your speech therapy sessions. There are many ways to connect literacy to sensory activities in your sessions. How do you include sensory activities in your therapy groups? I'd love to hear from you. Comment below and don't forget to sign up to receive my blog directly to your email inbox. Sign up for my newsletter to receive tips and updates.

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