Treasure And Story Baskets
Sensory baskets are excellent resource for cross-curricular learning at all ages. However, when you're trying to build vocabulary with children, a treasure basket can be an extremely useful tool to introduce children to new words through visual and physical objects.
Baskets could be themed to support links being made between objects by applying the new word across a variety of objects, e.g:
A basket of metal objects containing metal bowls (cold, shiny, metal), a fish slice (cold, shiny, metal) and set of whisks (cold, shiny, metal). You can see a video of a practitioner creating her own treasure baskets below:
Making treasure baskets are simple if you already have all of the resources. However to do this on a large scale can be expensive and time consuming.
If you prefer, you can buy reasonably priced ones from:
Story baskets are different to treasure baskets and generally are used for slightly older children, though you can continue to use these with babies if you feel they are relevant (or can be linked such as to a 'Thats not my' book. In fact, see my example below of my story basket linked to one of these texts.
The basket above was sourced very quickly from items around my house. It contains something shiny, rough, silky, smooth and bumpy (words from the story). You could accomplish the same in your setting in a few minutes. The idea is to relate the new vocabulary contained within the story, to their environment. You could even take it further and have a whole collection of 'rough' objects or a collection of 'silky' objects, entirely depending on your resources and the needs of the children.
For older children, you can include props related directly to the story which allows them to role play and retell but ensuring they are as heuristic possible means the children can understand them better, e.g the sticks in the three little pigs.