If you missed my original post, here is how to make a sensory bin yourself. For this bin, I used green crinkle paper originally, and then switched to large green pom pom balls, as the pom pom balls are easier to clean up if it gets accidentally knocked over.
I also got a set of safari themed animal figurines (similar here), as well as some Lion King figures. (I wanted to make sure that I had both a “boy” and “girl” character to include, so I could work on pronouns with some of my students.)
This bin is great for exploratory play and spontaneous language. Usually, the first time I introduce a bin, I simply let the students pull out the contents, one piece at a time. We work on naming and vocabulary, and talk about the different items/animals. We will also work on categories (such as “Can you find all of the *big* animals?” or “Find all of the things that are brown!”) and comparing/contrasting (ex: “How are the lion and the giraffe the same? How are they different?”)
During other sessions, we’ll read books or watch videos that correlate with the them, and then we will re-enact what happens in the story with the figures. This is great for working on story re-tell, pronouns, verb tenses, complete sentences, expanding utterances, describing, sequencing, answering WH questions, and more!
Here are some of my favorite online videos for this theme:
And some of my favorite books for this theme:
- “Rumble in the Jungle”
- “Giraffes Can’t Dance”
- “Good Night Gorilla”
- “Elephants: A Book for Children”
- “From Head to Toe“
If I have students working on articulation or phonology, we will look for items in the bin that have the target sound in them. If there aren’t that many, I will hide stimulus cards in the box prior to the session for the students to find.
What other books or videos do you love for the safari/jungle theme?