It's September, which means time to embrace all things fall in therapy! I absolutely love this time of year in therapy because there are so many themes and ideas (and not enough time to complete them all). One of my absolute favorites is apple week!
This week we are learning all about apples and working on various language skills. Before we get to goal examples, here is what you'll need to create our apple themed sensory bin:
I purchased almost all of the materials on Amazon, aside from the cinnamon sticks and oats , which I found at my local food store.
Here is what you'll need for the Apple Themed Sensory Bin (Amazon Affiliate links included):
Large Plastic Bin (or something similar to hold items)
Tan Felt - Can also be purchased at your local craft store, but I bought in bulk so each child has their own materials due to COVID
Oats (for filler)
I also decided to pair the sensory bin with one of my favorite books The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. I have had this book since I was in school (who else used to love ordering from Scholastic?!) and love pulling it out when apple theme week rolls around. The book talks about the life-cycle of an apple tree, through all 4 season and ends with the most delicious season of all!
Here are some goals that I target with the sensory bin and book:
(My tip is to always read the book first before reading it in therapy or to your child. Think about what goals you can address with the book and how you can tie it in with the sensory activity. I always read a book and take notes of which goals I want to address at what parts.)
Story Retell: Have your child or student retell parts or all of the book. Some of my younger kiddos needed prompting to retell the story with various 'wh' questions.
Sequencing: After reading the book, we pretended to make our own apple pie with the sensory bin items. Depending on the child's age you can model it for them first and then have them imitate the steps or ask them to teach you how to make an apple pie. This goal also ties in really well with following directions.
Prepositions (location words): A lot of my patients work on prepositions both receptively and expressively. For this sensory bin we worked on words like "in" (ie. put the apples in the tin), "on" (ie roll out the dough on the table), "under" (ie the apples are under the crust). The possibilities are endless!
Verbs: Apple picking addresses so many verbs. You can model/act out verbs like picking an apple, baking a pie, smelling the pie when it comes out of the oven, rolling out the pie dough, mixing the ingredients together, etc.
Orientation: This is a concept most of my Pre-k patients have a hard time understanding. We talked about the different seasons in the book and the weather during that season. I made sure to point out some similarities and differences between each season as well. A craft is a really great activity for this goal- you can have them draw an apple tree in all 4 seasons and talk about how the apple trees are similar during each season and how they are different.
Vocabulary: This is a goal that almost all of my patients work on- simply increasing vocabulary and length of utterances. This can be verbs, nouns, etc. I model TONS of related vocabulary words throughout the story (again read beforehand and make note of which vocabulary words you'd like to teach) and also while we played in our sensory bin. I had kiddos request if they needed an ingredient for their pie. The easiest way to do this is to withhold an item you know the child is going to need (ie. almost time to roll out the dough, take the rolling pin and put it in your lap or out of their reach. Then tell them it's time to roll out the dough! Model for them how to ask for the rolling pin if its a goal).
There are so many great goals to work on when pairing a story with a sensory bin. I hope an apple themed sensory bin makes its way into your therapy room or home this Autumn. Be sure to tag us on Instagram @lightthewaytherapy so we can see!