Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting Started with Sensory Bins!

I don't know what took me so long to start using sensory bins in my therapy sessions! I absolutely love using them and my students are responding so well to them. The purpose of a sensory bin is to tie a multi-sensory approach into learning. We learn better when we can touch, smell, and see something. Sensory bins let the child explore and discover through play. They are great for both groups and individual learning and they bring out so much language! 

For years I have adored sensory bins from a far. Always Pinning other's awesome ideas, liking Facebook posts, and taking screenshots of every fantastic sensory bin I saw. But I was afraid to pull the trigger. Since I am a private therapist traveling into homes, schools, and daycares, I didn't want to have to lug a giant bin with me everywhere I went.  Then I decided to start small. I found a small, shoe box size container and thought it would be pretty perfect for a small sensory bin that I could easily bring with me. That was all I needed to get started. The rest is sensory bin history!
If you want to get started using sensory bins but are a little hesitant like I was, here is my advice. Start small. Choose two or three fillers to alternate out. I really enjoy using cut up smoothie straws, kinetic sand, and small erasers. Popcorn kernels and black beans are fun ideas, too. But those have all ended up all over my car (face palm) The first 3 mentioned are much easier for cleanup!
Now let's talk about objects to put in the bins. I have used anything from vocabulary cards, story sequencing pictures, articulation cards to wooden animals and puzzle pieces. I really love adding objects that go with a theme. For example, during pirate week I used kinetic sand and added plastic gold coins and jewels that I found on amazon! SO much language about pirates and treasure happened that week!
Finding storage may be the biggest challenge for using sensory bins. My car is my office so I needed something practical that didn't take up a ton of space. I keep all of my fillers (sand, straws, colored pasta, beans, etc) in large zip lock freezer bags. All of those bags go into a tub. For the fillers, I use a photo and craft box I found at Michaels. Here is a link to the exact one I bought.  It is perfect and easily keeps my objects organized by theme. 
Sensory bins are so much fun and create so much hands on learning and language opportunities! Make sure you're following my Instagram (@simply_speech) to see more ideas! 
Have a great week!

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