Do you use a St. Patrick’s Day theme with your preschoolers? Keep reading for ideas on how to use ONE sensory bin to address a variety of goals!
I first put this bin together a few years ago, challenged myself to use it for as many goals as possible, and found it was easier than I initially thought! I bought all my materials from Hobby Lobby except the plain gold coins, which I bought a few years prior at Dollar Tree.
Start with an empty bin and give directions for what you need to fill it- ie “We need 1 big shamrock and 2 small pom poms.”
If they can’t count yet, do one at a time (ie “Give me a big shamrock and a small shamrock” or “Give me a coin and a rainbow”).
Place a mini pot at the front of the bin and one at the back of the bin. (My pots were from Hobby Lobby, but I’ve seen them at Target some years, too.)
Target front and back concepts by giving directions like, “Put a shamrock (e.g. the stickers) in the pot that’s in front” or “Put a rainbow in the front pot and a coin in the back pot.”
If your students are working on using descriptors in their utterances, have them ask for big or small shamrocks or pom poms, sparkly coins vs plain coins, sparkly pom poms vs plain poms poms to put in the bin.
Take individual photos of the bin fillers you have and make them into picture icons for your pre-verbal students to comment or request.
Quantitative concepts: more, most, few, empty, full
-Place poms poms in each hand. Ask your students to “Get pom poms from the hand that has MORE“
-“Make one pot FULL of pom poms” then, “Which pot is full? Which one is empty?”
-“Fill up one pot and put just a few in the other”
Start with a full bin for this one.
Optional: Use a leprechaun ornament from Hobby Lobby to pull out an item from the bin.
Go to mycutegraphics.com and copy/paste a boy and girl dressed for St. Patrick’s Day, side by side into a Word doc or Powerpoint slide, to print on a half sheet of paper each.
Place the pictures in front of the bin, and when the leprechaun picked something out, we worked on “Give it to HER/HIM” or “HE/SHE wants a gold coin” etc… and gave items from the bin to the boy and girl.
You give the directions if you’re working on it receptively. If you’re targeting it expressively, take turns giving the instructions to each other!
Targeting Speech Sounds:
Sounds and words to target with this sensory bin:
/m/: more, pom pom (final position)
/p/: pom pom, (say ‘pom pom’ and get 1 to put in the bin), pot (“Are you going to put this in the POT or in the BIN?” or they fill in “pot” when you say “Drop it in the….” as you hold an object over the pot to drop in)
/b/: big, bin
Target both /p/ and /b/ at the same time by having them ask for a pom pom, and ask them questions like,
“Is the pom pom BIG or small?”
“Are you going to put this in the POT or in the BIN?”
/l/: leprechaun, like; Use the sentence, “The leprechaun likes the ___” as they pull items out of the bin using the leprechaun ornament if you have it, OR, give items to a printed picture of a leprechaun as you pull items out.
‘sh’: shamrocks (Students can ask for little shamrocks/big shamrocks)
s-blends: have them request coins and pom poms based on descriptors like sparkly and small
other: Drop a mini rainbow eraser in the pot for each trial you do. How many will it take to fill up each pot?
Idea 1: If you have kids with articulation goals you can’t target naturally within the context, have them put in a picture card of their target and something else to build the bin while the other students work on following directions and basic concepts.
Idea 2: Another option for mixed language goal groups is to use my No Prep Language sheets with the bin. I made these sheets originally to use with various types of eggs with bingo chips inside them, but have been able to adapt it to a bunch of other themes, too, like St. Patrick’s Day!
Choose the 4 items you want to fill your bin with, and place 1 of each at the top of each column. Pull an item out of the bin, match it to the right column, pick a target in that column to practice, then cover it up!
INTERACTIVE BOOK PIECES
Another fun thing I like to do is stick in the interactive book pieces from my St. Patrick’s Farm interactive book. As we read each clue, they get to find the picture from the bin to pull out and match to the page.
There you have it- many ways to use one sensory bin for lots of different goals! Are there any other ideas you would add to the list?