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How to use Sensory Bins in Speech Therapy

Do you need ideas for your sensory bins in speech therapy? You might have seen Speech Therapists posting all of their cute sensory bins and you’re thinking “what do I do with this sensory bin in speech therapy?”.

You aren’t alone! I used to feel this way, too!

I used to believe the following myths about sensory bins:

  1. I didn’t think my students would love sensory bins (truth: my students of all ages love them but I wouldn’t recommend using them with students who are still exploring their environment by mouthing or really little ones!

  2. I thought they would cost me so much time and money to make (truth: you can make a lot of sensory bins for a very reasonable cost - to learn more, read this blog post).

  3. I had no idea what I would even target using sensory bins.

Today I’m sharing sensory bin ideas for speech therapy. Sensory bins have quickly become one of my favorite speech therapy activities. These are my favorite speech and language therapy goals to target using sensory bins.

Receptive Language Goals:

  • Target Following Directions by giving items to Little People or figurines. You could also pair your sensory bin with open ended scenes to create different scenarios.

    • Pair with a “That’s not my” book from Usborne. Find items in the sensory bin that have the same (or different) texture as each page in the story.

    • Target following directions by asking the child to find particular items.

    • Size Concepts by using a variety of sizes of fillers - add small, big, long, and short items.

    • Find items in the bing that are the same/different.

    • Quantitate Concepts by talking about which items there are the most and least of.

    • Qualitative Concepts by talking bout what features items have (e.g. is striped, spotted, speckled?)

Expressive Language Goals:

  • Throw some people figurines in and talk about who wants/has what to target possessive ’s, pronouns, and who questions.

    • Talk about the multiple items you found to target plurals.

    • Discuss where you would find the items to target ‘where’ questions.

    • Pair with one of your favorite speech books Story and Target Story Retell.

    • Build Sentences, such as “I have a …”, “It is a …”, “She/He has a …..”.

    • Create a story to target story grammar.

    • Target sentence expansion by using early language stimulating strategies.

    • Follow the child’s lead and use early language stimulating strategies.

    • Describe the items in the sensory bin while playing “I Spy”.

Play Skills and Social Skills:

  • Create Play Scenarios to target flexible thinking and play skills.

  • Target turn taking within a group when finding items.

  • Work on spatial concepts by placing items in certain spots.

Speech Sounds:

  • Target Speech Sounds by pairing with a themed Speech Sound List or by brainstorming words yourself (or adding sound mini objects!).

If this all sounds great, but you have no idea where to start to make your own sensory bins, feel free to check out my blog posts “Making Sensory Bins on a Budget” and snag this free list of sensory bin fillers!

I also have a one stop product that includes labels, manipulatives, visuals and open ended scenes for over 30 themes! Includes themes such as dinosaurs, holidays, monsters, seasons, unicorns and more! You can check out my Thematic Sensory Bin Product. I've also created Thematic Sensory Bins 2.0 that has a NEW set of 40 themes !

If you’re anything like me, sensory bins will quickly become one of your new favorite speech therapy toys!


Doreen Ruppin
Doreen Ruppin
Apr 11, 2023

Hi, you mention themed speech sound lists to go along with the bins/books. Do you have those as well?

Anna Dalziel
Anna Dalziel
Apr 11, 2023
Replying to

You can create your own list or use this themed list from TPT!

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