Inside: Ideas for sensory bin activities to try with your kids this fall. These fun ideas celebrate apples, leaves, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Since it is the season of falling leaves, I thought I would share some of my favorite fall sensory bin ideas that offer your children the opportunity to taste, touch, hear, smell and feel all this amazing season has to offer.
These bins are simple and affordable! Look no further than the great outdoors or your local dollar store for the materials for these bins of exploration.
Apple Picking Sensory Bin
- Whole apples
- Cut apples
- Apple cores
- Apple seeds
- Magnifying glasses
Variation: Add cinnamon and sugar for kids to feel and taste.
Fall is apple pickin’ time! Locate an orchard or an apple tree somewhere that your kids can pick apples from. Take the apples you gathered home and make applesauce, apple pie and apple cider.
After you make all the goodies, put some whole apples, cut apples, apple cores, apple seeds, even apple stems in a container and let your kids use their senses to explore this delicious taste of fall.
This is one tasty sensory bin! Yum!
Squirrel Corn Sensory Bin
- Squirrel corn (You can get it from your local feed supply store)
- Big plastic tweezers (We got them at the local dollar store)
Variation: Add magnifying glasses to the sensory bin so the kids can take a closer look at the corn cobs and kernels.
Yep! You read that right! Only two items for this simple bin that the kids at my son’s preschool had a blast with. His teacher said that she had quite a bit of squirrel corn and the kids started picking off the kernels. She decided to put some big plastic tweezers (you can buy them in bulk here) in the bin and the children started going through the corn so fast she had to go get more corn.
This sensory bin idea is great for strengthening young children’s fine motor control. They have to be able to hold onto the tweezers with one hand and the corn with the other hand. It requires good eye-hand coordination and that is a skill preschool and Kindergarten aged children can use lots of practice with.
Fall Nature Sensory Bin
- A bag of popcorn kernels or straw from a hay bale
- Real leaves, sticks, rocks, pine cones….
- Optional silk leaves
- Mini pumpkins
Variation: Use the corn kernels that your kids picked off the squirrel corn cobs. I love dual-purpose! How about you?
Look no further than the great outdoors for most of the materials for this fun bin. My kids and I went on a leaf and stick hunt in our front yard to find natural items for them to interact with.
Fallen leaves can be quite brittle and fall apart easily. I limited the amount of real leaves we used in the bin and bought a few silk leaves at the dollar store. They may not be authentic, but they are much more durable and go with the theme of the bin.
I used popcorn kernels as the filler material because it seemed fall like to me. You could skip the filler material altogether and just put sticks, leaves, pine cones or rocks in the bin.
Leaf and Letters Sensory Bin
- Silk leaves
- Cinnamon potpourri
- Plastic letters
Variation: Hide plastic numbers or other objects instead of letters.
My son’s preschool teacher shared this spicy smelling sensory bin idea with materials from the dollar store. Use silk leaves and cinnamon potpourri so that kids can use their sense of smell as well as their sense of touch.
Hide plastic letters in the bin for your kids to find and identify. This is a great way to practice recognizing letters and sounds.
If you use magnetic letters, place a cookie sheet nearby so your older kids can practice putting letters in alphabetic order. For younger children, write the letters on a piece of paper and have your kids match the letters they find in the bin to the letters on the paper.
Spooky Sensory Bin
- Bag of uncooked white rice or uncooked pasta
- Spooky items such as plastic eyeballs, skeletons, spiders, ghosts, bats….
- Plastic funnels
Variation: Add spider webbing, slime or other spooky feeling objects.
Kids love playing with the creepy and spooky items in this Halloween themed bin. Dollar stores carry plastic eyeballs, skeletons, spiders, bats, jack-o-lanterns, webbing and other spooky trinkets. Any plastic toys your kids might get at Halloween parties can also be added to this bin.
The spookiness level of this bin can managed easily. My kids are still quite young and so I didn’t put a lot of spooky items in the bin. As they get older, I may add more scary items and other tactile objects such as fake webbing.
Thanksgiving Sensory Bin
- Popcorn kernels or straw from a bale of hay
- Mini pumpkins
- Small gourds
- Real or silk leaves
- Indian Corn (can usually be found at a market or grocery store)
- Different colored fake feathers (optional)
Variation: Add objects you are thankful for.
What comes to mind when you hear the word Thanksgiving? If you live in the United States, it probably is turkey, food, family, fall, pumpkins and leaves to name a few.
This Thanksgiving themed sensory bin uses objects specific to fall. The colored feathers represent the turkey that signifies this holiday of feasting with family. The other items represent items that most likely were at the first Thanksgiving feast.
A Thanksgiving sensory bin can include whatever the holiday means to you and your family. Make it even more personal for your kids by adding objects or toys they are especially thankful for.
Sensory Bins to Fall For!
Sensory bins are always a hit with young children. They encourage children to use their senses to explore and learn about the world around them. It is also a great way to keep your kids occupied and entertained while you get some work accomplished.
Hopefully, you found some fall sensory bin ideas that you can implement before autumn fades away. Fell free to adapt them in any way you would like! The more creative you and your kids are, the more fun you will have.
Sensory bins can get quite messy. Read my post with tips on using sensory bins with kids for ideas on how to contain the mess.
I am always looking for more sensory bin ideas, so share any other fall sensory bin ideas in the comments below.
Here’s to having fun making “sense” of fall!