The seasons are changing, school is back in session, and now is the perfect time to refresh sensory bins and immerse little ones in autumn activities! We’ve rounded up ideas for fall sensory play to bring a little pumpkin spice to your playroom, classroom or kitchen. Happy haunting!
This super-simple idea comes from I Can Teach My Child, and it really is as easy as rounding up some golf tees, a toy hammer (you probably already have one from a pound-a-ball or building set), and a large pumpkin. This would be a great (and safer) way to bring a younger sibling in on the sensory fun of pumpkin carving!
Fall Cooking & Baking
The kitchen is one of our favorite places for sensory play because cooking engages all five senses. There are plenty of fall recipes that are easy and fun to make with little ones — try baking pumpkin bread, cooking a fall soup, whipping up homemade applesauce (kids love to help peel, and it’s great for developing fine motor skills), or roasting pumpkin seeds (just be sure to remove all the golf tees first!).
Seasonal Sensory Bins
Autumn is a perfect time to change up your sensory bin for seasonal play. Try using black beans or orange dyed rice along with pompoms, blocks and small toys in fall colors. Taming Little Monsters uses pumpkin seeds as the foundation for a fun counting activity. The Artful Parent has wonderful ideas for messy fall sensory bins (think dough, slime, and water play), or you can take the fun outdoors with a “squirrel” sensory bin as seen on Simple Play Ideas.
Fun With Mini Pumpkins
Those tiny pumpkins from the grocery store make cute decorations, but you can do so much more with them: stack them, count them, make stamps for paint, turn them into boats, add them to a water bin, turn them into volcanoes, or paint and wash them (over and over).
Spice Up Your Play Dough
Play dough is a favorite sensory toy, and if you make your own at home, it’s easy to add a dash of seasonal flavor! Try mixing a spoonful of pumpkin pie spice or powder apple cider mix into your usual recipe, or make Growing a Jeweled Rose’s Pumpkin Cloud Dough.
Everyday Fall Fun
Autumn is a season that by default lends itself to sensory exploration! Raking leaves (and jumping and playing in the piles), scooping out pumpkin “guts,” apple picking, and splashing in puddles are all great ways to engage your child’s senses.