Liam and I are talking about emotions, facial expressions, and voice tone, which are difficult things for kids with autism to understand. I created this Emoji Sensory Bin and an INSIDE OUT Emotions Sensory Bin to aid in our conversations. The INSIDE OUT Emotions Sensory Bin we used to talk heavily about emotions, voice tones, and how emotions can affect our decision making. Definitely, check that one out.
This Emoji Sensory Bin we focused mostly on facial expressions. Liam was also so in love with talking about “good ideas” and “poopy bad ideas” from the other sensory bin, we continued those conversations as well. This bin would be a good alternative if your child doesn’t like the cold, wet feel of water beads.
Materials + Manipulatives
I feel like I say this with every sensory bin, but this is a crazy simple bin to put together. The base is dry black beans. The rest are mini erasers, light up key chains, bouncy balls, lip balm (yes, you read that correctly) and a stress ball. Check out our Youtube video featuring a tour of our emotions themed unit bin.
How We Learned + Played
During free play, Liam added tools like scoops, cups, and tubes. If you follow us on Instagram, you know he made a “poop army.” He loved putting all the keychains on his fingers, lighting them up as he thrashed his fist around.
As I said, we continued some of our conversations provoked by the other emotions sensory bin. In this bin, we mostly went through the faces on the manipulatives. Together with a mirror, we imitated the faces, discussed what emotion or thoughts would provoke the faces, and practiced a more natural way of making that face. I did a lot of imitating to show him what faces would look like in a real-life scenario.
After a while, we pulled ourselves away from the bins to build on the lessons. We did a few different activities, which added body language to facial expressions and integrated occupational therapy.