Fall Fun Sensory Bin
There's something about fall that just makes you feel alive.
The cool crisp air, the gorgeous leaves, getting tastes of excitement for the quickly approaching Christmas season, pumpkin everything, football season, and cozy oversized sweaters that give a little more grace with all that Halloween candy that I know I shouldn't have bought a month early and subsequently am buying more since the trick-or-treat stash has somehow disappeared...
Let's learn how to make a sensory bin and create learning opportunities and teaching moments to use with children. #learnthroughplay
WHY USE SENSORY BINS:
Sensory bins are one of my favorite play activity for toddlers/kids. They provide children with a unique opportunity to engage their senses and explore and learn through play. Sensory play encourages language development, cognitive growth, sensory stimulation, fine and gross motor skills, independent/imaginative play, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
HOW TO CREATE A SENSORY BIN:
There are endless ideas for each season/holiday. A great place to start is outside in nature, in your home, at the Dollar Store, and at a craft store. Utilize items that you already have at home in your craft drawer, ribbon collection, holiday totes, kitchen, etc. I made the above sensory bin activity for under $10.
Start with a base (like corn for fall, colored rice, pasta. sand, etc.) and place it in a tub for kids to play and mix in their other fall items. FYI: There are some fun season and holiday themed pasta shapes at HomeGoods. We already ate our Halloween shaped pasta or it would have been in the bin!
I found this plastic appetizer plate, plastic tub, and 3-bin organizer at the Dollar Store as well which worked great for separating the items initially. I used plastic takeout containers for the other bins.
Let the kids add in additional fall-themed items that stimulate the senses with different sizes, colors, textures, smells, sounds, etc.
We found these little pumpkins, jingle bells, decorative balls, twine, and ribbon at the Dollar Store.
You can find decorative balls for each season with fun festive colors. The orange, gold, and green were perfect for this fall sensory bin.
Leaves, acorns, pinecones, and pumpkins are perfect for a fall-themed sensory bin. Take a walk in nature and you'll be surprised at what you can find!
Use store bought or homemade playdoh to make some fun fall colors. Add glitter and even seasonal essential oils to the playdoh to really engage the senses and up the sensory game. Some essential oils to try: Eden's Garden Autumn Air, Cinnamon Leaf, Pumpkin Pie, and Spiced Chai Latte.
There are so many learning opportunities with sensory bins, the only limit is imagination! You can come up with teaching experiences for toddlers on up to elementary age kids. Teach children about sizes, colors, patterns, textures, smells, counting, sorting, adding, subtracting, etc.
If you have letters in your sensory bin, work with your child to identify letters and sounds. Have them spell their name and spell other fall-themed words.
Have children close their eyes and feel objects to guess what they are holding. Let them build things with play doh and the other objects to create their own fall scenes. Hide things in the corn (or sand/rice/etc.) and have them dig to find them. Show them 3-5 objects and then bury one in the bin and have them guess and try to recall which item is missing.
Have them pick things up with different play kitchen utensils and tools to work on fine motor skills. Have them make a special soup or recipe and let them come up with all the special ingredients and stir them together. Teach them about measuring spoons, measuring cups, and basic cooking concepts as you make your special concoction. "Add 3 teaspoons of popcorn kernels, 1/2 cup of acorns, 2 tablespoons of fall glitter balls, etc. Watch how 3 teaspoons make a tablespoon, etc."
Start with objects dry and let them play and create while utilizing teaching moments and keeping things fun. Then have a small container of water and let them play with objects in the water and make fall alphabet soup.
Discuss how and why some objects float and others sink. Have them guess which ones will sink and which will float and then experiment to see if they are right.
Mix colors of play doh to show how primary colors make secondary colors. Use your imagination and have fun, and I guarantee your kids will enjoy it too!
These also make great gifts! Just package the items in a Craft Storage Organizer, include a plastic bin with the base material, and add in a few learning suggestions for kids and parents.
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