Sensory Bins

Thursday, February 6, 2020

I have ALWAYS wanted to teach kindergarten!  In fact, when I wrote my final paper for my credential it was all about my 'dream job' of being a kindergarten teacher.  25 years in, guess what!?!  I have NEVER taught kindergarten.  

I think I was so drawn to it because before I started my credential program and after college I had a preschool job teaching 4 year olds.  Oh my goodness y'all they were the most precious things ever!  It was that job that made this girl - BA in Psychology turn to teaching and go after her credential and masters in education.

My new position has me teaching 20 ish minutes of intervention for  kindergartners 3x's a week and I LOVE it!  I mean, ok, ok, let's be real.  I have ummm 6 kids in a small group in the hallway.  I don't have 20+ something kids that I have to corral and teach and do all the things with so I'm not really even close to the same playing field as my hard working, dedicated k teachers.  BUT, I still LOVE my time with them so much.  It's the highlight of my day for real.

sensory bin options

I have discovered sensory bins and bags and lots and lots of hands on stuff that I have fallen in love with and use all time.  It certainly helps that this little intervention group is super appreciative of anything I bring and begs for more time with me.  But the creative side of me is dying with happiness to work with them and create fun, engaging things for them to do.

I wanted to share some ideas you can do to create sight word bins AND they don't have to be #pinterestperfect ~ ~ I promise you will still get #allthelove.

I started with large containers - and large tupperware pieces to create my bins.   As I started to create multiple bins and running out of space I came to the realization that you can use just about anything with 5 year olds.  In fact - today I used my daughter's shoe box!  Yep, and they didn't even notice or care that it wasn't anything fancier.  So, save some money and save old shoe boxes.  If possible save shoe boxes, label them and keep the same monthly pieces in them so you can just pull them out next year and not have to move, re create or re do any.  #ideal

Also here's a list I created of all the things you can easily include in a sensory bin that you may or may not already have available in your home.

sensory bin winter ideas

sensory bin winter ideas

Valentines sight word sensory bin

*tissue paper for gift bags cut up
* rice ( even better if you dye it with vinegar and food coloring )
* beans
* cut up straws
* Easter grass
* gift filler ( shredded paper )
* beads
* buttons
* popcorn kernels
* pom poms
* cotton balls
* pasta
* styro foam shapes
* birdseed
* pet store fish rocks
* buttons
* water beads 
* craft beads
* split peas
* cornmeal
* coffee grinds
* oats ( which can actually be dyed )
* marbles
* leaves
* shells
* feathers
* packing peanuts
* chickpeas ( can be dyed )
* shredded coconut ( can by dyed )

*** WARNING ***  Many of these items are considered choking hazards.  Please keep your child or students supervised at all times if setting up a sensory bin.

Just add in some sight word flash cards, letters on seasonal shapes to spell out sight words or even cvc words you want them to read/blend.

I have had great success with using several of these items to create engaging bins that they dig through, or use tongs with etc. to hunt for letters or sight words.  Just remember if it's tactile and engaging A) they will  be more motivated to participate
B) often times engaging multiple senses will help things 'stick' for those kids that need to use multiple modalities when learning and exploring.

Have fun trying out new items and if I missed one that you love to use drop it in the comments below so we can all benefit from it.
Happy teaching... 

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