Fall is a fantastic time of year to check out a whole new palette of colors. We have deep red, orange, purple, and yellow hues everywhere you look. Think Indian corn to changing leaves to gourds and mums; fall is the perfect time to observe and discover beautiful colors. These colorful fall sensory bins capture the beauty of fall with hands-on sensory play and learning!

Enjoy Fall Sensory Play With Fall Colors

We love to check out farm stands, take wagon rides, and hike through the woods during fall. Everything around us is alive with amazing, jewel-toned colors!

Digging your hands into a new sensory bin full of colorful fall items for toddlers and preschoolers is a beautiful treat! I believe sensory play, like these fall sensory bins, is crucial to early childhood development.

Simple sensory bins provide fantastic learning opportunities and promote social and emotional development! Read more about the benefits of sensory bins below and check out our best tips and tricks for putting together your own fall sensory bin.

The Benefits Of Sensory Bins

Are sensory bins worth it? Yes, they are worth it. The more basic you keep the sensory bin, the better off you are. Remember, you create a tactile experience for your kids, not a Pinterest image. While we have fantastic pictures of sensory bins, they only stay that way for a minute!

Sensory bins are awesome hands-on tools for children to learn about their world and senses! Sensory play may calm a child, focus a child, and engage a child.

Here’s what children can learn from sensory bins:

Practical Life Skills ~ Sensory bins let a child explore, discover and create play using practical life skills (dumping, filling, scooping) and learn valuable play skills.

Play Skills {emotional development} ~ For both social play and independent play, sensory bins allow children to play cooperatively or side by side. My son has had many positive experiences with other children over a bin of rice!

Language Development ~ Sensory bins increase language development by experiencing all there is to see and do with their hands, which leads to great conversations and opportunities to model language.

Understanding 5 Senses ~ Many sensory play bins include a few of the 5 senses! Imagine a bin of brightly colored rainbow rice: touch the loose grains against the skin, see the vivid colors as they mix together, and hear the sound of sprinkling over a plastic container or shaken in a plastic egg!

Helpful Sensory Bin Resources

There’s so much more to learn about sensory bins and sensory play.

Sensory Bin Tips and Tricks

Tip: Stand To Play

Due to various sensory needs, some kids may feel more comfortable standing to engage in the activity. Sitting on the floor or kneeling in front of a sensory bin may also be uncomfortable. My son’s sensory needs made standing the best choice for us.

Tip: Keep It Simple

When designing a themed sensory bin, consider how many items you put into the bin versus the size of the bin. Too many items may feel overwhelming. If your kid is playing happily with the sensory bin, resist the urge to add just one more thing!

Trick: How To Minimize Mess

It’s important for adults to model the appropriate use of sensory bins and to keep a close eye on young kids who may want to throw the filler and items. Keep a kid-size broom and dustpan handy to help them learn how to clean up spills.

Learn more about sensory bins here!

Hands-On Sensory Play Suggestions

Add accessories and tools that encourage fine motor practice for the young age group, which a sensory bin is designed for.

Scoop play items into a small container or basket and then transfer them into another container. For more difficulty, provide kitchen tongs to grab objects and transfer them to a container.

Add some sneaky math by rolling a die and counting how many things to scoop at a time. Or simply count the number of items put into the basket.

Get Your Free Quick Start Sensory Bin Guide

It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4 to make a sensory bin! Get started today with this simple sensory bin guide.

Fall Sensory Bin Materials

Wondering what to put in a fall sensory bin? Starting with the sensory bin filler, here are a few ideas. We have our own list of top 10 Sensory Bin Fillers, but there are so many to choose from to put together simple fall sensory bins. We also have a list of non-food items you can use too!

Here are a few sensory bin fillers to try! Get creative and add your own themes.

  • wooden beads (shown below)
  • pom poms
  • water
  • corn kernels (shown below)
  • corn meal
  • buttons
  • dyed pasta
  • dyed rice or brown rice (shown below)
  • straw
  • crinkle paper (gift wrapping)
  • kinetic sand

Colorful Fall Sensory Bins To Set Up

Apple Sensory Bin

Create a simple sensory bin with an apple theme to work on fine motor skills, counting and more!

Apple Pie Sensory Bin

Cloud dough is an easy 2 ingredient sensory recipe made from your kitchen cupboards. Taste safe too!  Here it makes a great filler for an apple pie sensory bin for kids to practice their baking! Change out the accessories to make it into a pumpkin pie sensory bin!

Earl The Squirrel Sensory Bin

Acorns, fall leaves, and a fun fall theme book! What could be easier?

Pumpkin Sensory Bin

Create a whimsical pumpkin patch for young kids to explore this fall! Put it together with green shredded paper, fall leaves and foam pumpkins.

Ten Apples Up On Top Sensory Bin

This has to be the perfect Dr Seuss book for fall. We paired it with a sensory bin filled with dried peas and toy apples. A classic book for sensory play and a fun math lesson. Extension activities included.

Printable FREE Fall Projects

More Fall Sensory Bin Ideas

Creating sensory bins for preschoolers during the fall season can be a fun and engaging way to stimulate their senses and explore the changing world around them.

Here are ten more creative ideas for fall-themed sensory bins:

Pumpkin Patch Adventure: Fill the sensory bin with dried corn kernels as the base, and add mini pumpkins, gourds, and fake leaves. Include small shovels and pails for “harvesting” the pumpkins.

Apple Orchard Sensation: Use dried apple slices as the base and add artificial apples of various sizes, textures, and colors. Include cinnamon sticks, fake leaves, and scoops for a multi-sensory experience.

Acorn Hunt: Fill the bin with brown rice, sand, or kinetic sand, and hide plastic or foam acorns within. Provide scoops or small containers for the children to dig and discover hidden treasures.

Harvest Farmyard: Create a mini farm scene with small plastic or wooden farm animals, hay, and sensory-friendly “dirt” made from cloud dough. This allows kids to engage in imaginative play while exploring different textures.

Forest Friends Exploration: Fill the bin with pinecones, smooth stones, and fake leaves. Add toy woodland animals and encourage kids to create stories and scenes within the forest setting.

Fall Color Mixing: Use dried colored pasta in various autumn hues (red, orange, yellow) as the base. Add droppers and colored water to encourage color mixing and fine motor skill development.

Crisp Leaves Crunch: Collect real fallen leaves and place them in the sensory bin. Add tongs, scoops, and small baskets for kids to explore the leaves’ textures, shapes, and colors.

Scented Sensations: Include various scented items like cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, and pinecones. Add a scoop of coffee grounds for the smell of roasted coffee beans. This sensory bin engages both the sense of smell and touch.

Hay Bale Barnyard: Fill the bin with shredded paper or straw to represent hay, and add toy barnyard animals, small trucks, and play tools. This encourages imaginative play and fine motor skills.

Fall Feast Fun: Create a sensory bin with a mix of play food items representing a fall feast—tiny pumpkins, apples, corn cobs, and felt turkey pieces. Kids can “cook” and arrange their feast using various utensils.

Try colored pasta, brown rice, and fallen leaves!

Bonus Fall Sensory Activities

These fall-themed sensory play ideas may not be in a bin but they sure do pack a huge punch of tactile sensory play! Click on the links below to read more about each activity.

Printable Preschool Activities Pack

Get ready to explore this year with our growing Preschool STEM Bundle!

What’s Included:

There are 4 fun preschool themes to get you started. This is an ” I can explore” series!

Each unit contains approximately 15 activities, with instructions and templates as needed. Hands-on activities are provided to keep it fun and exciting. This includes sensory bins, experiments, games, and more! Easy supplies keep it low cost and book suggestions add the learning time. 

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