Fall Sensory Play Ideas

When you’re asked what your 5 senses are most of us can come up with the right answer: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. But did you know intentionally creating play focused around our senses plays an important role in our development when we’re children?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, sensory play helps children “develop language skills and motor skills.” Not only does it help “with cognitive growth, fostering social interactions and encouraging experimentation,” it also helps with the development of the “proprioceptive and vestibular systems.” This means that sensory focused play can help a child’s awareness of their own body and their sense of movement and balance.

So here are some fun, Fall sensory play ideas you can do at home to encourage and assist with your child’s development!

1. Fall Food Stamping

Slice up some apples or some squash and use them as stamps! Just add some paint on a paper plate, take your seasonal sliced fruit or vegetable and dip it into the paint and then “stamp” it onto a blank piece of paper to make a fun piece of artwork!

2. Fall Sensory Bin

There are so many different combinations for this idea, but here are a few favorites:

  • Apples & Oats
    • Fill an empty bin with oats. Then throw in some apples and cinnamon sticks and mix together. Let your little one explore the feelings and smells!
  • Pumpkins, Gourds & Corn
    • Fill an empty bin with kernels of uncooked corn. Then add some mini (or size of your choice) pumpkins and gourds. Let your little one explore the different textures & smells!
  • Seeds & Pinecones
    • Fill an empty bin with different types of seed like sunflower seed or bird seed. Next, add in some pinecones and other larger items like mini pumpkins. Then let your little one explore!

3. Cookie Sheet Fall Explore

Take a cookie sheet or flat container and fill it with different things found in nature (leaves, pinecones, sticks)—anything you can find that might spark some interest in your little one! Next, take a magnifying glass and ask your little one to explore up-close what is on the sheet! If you don’t have a magnifying glass, turn this into a seek-and-find activity!

4. Pumpkin Carving

Grab a pumpkin and get carving! Have your little one help pull out seeds and the pumpkin insides. Let them play and interact with the pumpkin’s different parts.

5. Fall Slime

What list would be complete without a slime activity? Use your favorite slime recipe but add in some pumpkin seeds, leaves, cinnamon or even piece of pinecones to make it Fall themed!

For more sensory play ideas, check out these books: