We love fall and we love sensory bins! This fall sensory bin is easy to put together using items you may already have around your home and yard.
I love all of the interesting and colourful fall crafts and activities we get into at this time of year! There are so many wonderful colours and textures for little hands to explore in fall. Red, ripe apples, golden sunflowers, amber gems, orange pumpkins,nuts, pinecones, gourds… You can probably find a lot of these items in your yard and around your home, and the thrift shops and dollar stores are teeming with interesting autumn goodies in September and October.
I assembled this Fall Sensory Bin yesterday, and I surprised the Hooligans with it this morning. The hooligans LOVE a good sensory bin, and we generally always have one set up to go with the season of the holiday.
If you’ve never made a sensory bin before, or if you’re unsure of the benefits of sensory play, Deborah from Teach Preschool explains them well in her post, “Every Day Sensory Play in Preschool”.
How to make a sensory bin:
A sensory bin starts with a base. Natural materials such as rice, sand, lentils, oats, and corn kernels are wonderful to explore. The pasta and rice in this bin have been used for sensory play many times. I just bag it up and store it in between uses.
Everything in this bin, I already had in the house, and it’s all been used for assorted bins and seasonal play before. That’s the beauty of making a sensory bin; you can re-use these treasures over and over again, each time using a different combination of materials so you’ll never have the same bin twice.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money making a sensory bin. Go through your cupboards, craft supplies, holiday ornaments, the kitchen drawers, your fabric stash, the toy box etc. You’ll find lots of interesting items once you start looking.
What to put in a Fall Sensory Bin:
Pinecones, chestnuts, acorns, walnuts, sunflowers, wheat, seed pods, artificial apples, leaves and flowers, miniature gourds (real or artificial), plastic gemstones or glass beads in autumn colours etc.
My artificial flowers and wooden gourds were thrift shop purchases some years ago. Other items, like the pumpkins and the gemstones, I purchased a few years back, at the dollar store. The bowls and small scoops were also second-hand shop finds.
Until recently, the apples decorated my Christmas tree every year for the past 2 decades. Butterflies – dollar store.
The pinecones and seed pods, I collected in the yard this morning.
The pods were fun to take apart and remove the seeds from.
Think outside the box when looking for items to put in your Fall Sensory Bin. I filled this bowl with vintage buttons.
Tools and instruments for a Sensory Bin:
Scoops, wooden bowls, jars and muffin tins are perfect for pouring and sorting and organizing. Ice cube trays work too. Tongs are always fun and they’re great for fine motor development and preparing little ones for using scissors. Our favourite scoops are the little meatball-makers. We have two sets, both thrift shop finds.
My Thrift Shop Activity Table:
I set the Fall Sensory Bin out in the yard on my SIX DOLLAR (!) thrift shop coffee-table. It’s the perfect size for spreading an activity on, there’s plenty of room for everyone to gather around and it’s super-light so I can easily move it around the yard. The plastic surface stands up to water, paint and mud-play, and it’s easy to clean up with a shot from the garden hose or a wet cloth.
When we use our sensory bins inside, we lay a vinyl table-cloth out on the floor and set the bin on that. Clean up is a breeze.
What do you think? Will you make a Fall Bin for your hooligans?
If you need a little more inspiration, check out our November Sensory Bin from last year.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.