Fall Sensory Bin

With the arrival of (slightly) cooler fall weather, I wanted the tots to have an opportunity to explore some autumn items.  R and H are 20 months old and still fond of putting things in their mouths, so I chose (relatively) taste-safe items that were large enough for them to explore freely.


I used a large plastic tub with a lid from Target and added the following items for our sensory experience:

  • Hay (from a bale I got at JoAnn)
  • Small white and orange pumpkins (Trader Joe’s)
  • Small gourds (Trader Joe’s)
  • Indian corn (Sprouts; also saw at Super Walmart)
  • Cinnamon sticks (had in the pantry; also saw at Hobby Lobby and Walmart)
  • Pinecones (Hobby Lobby)


Tots had recently been introduced to pumpkins and were eager to dive into the sensory bin.


They smelled, tasted, and felt most of the items.

Then they discovered the hay and pumpkins lost their appeal.  The tots LOVED the hay.  They especially enjoyed putting hay on their heads and dropping/throwing hay out of the bin.

Since we were outside and I try to allow messy play when possible–and because they were just so adorably delighted– I didn’t stop them from exploring the hay however they wanted.  I drew the line at throwing pumpkins, though!


After a while, it was time to clean up the sensory bin and go inside for baths and dinner.  Even though this was a moderately messy sensory bin, it didn’t take too long to gather up the sensory items and sweep up most of the hay.  Since I was concerned about the hay getting wet and possibly molding, I didn’t put the swept hay back into our sensory bin.  Instead, I scooped it into one of our outdoor buckets to play with another day!

Leaf Stamping with Cookie Cutters


Halloween lingers in the two buckets of candy we still have sitting on the counter but I am excited to welcome November by jumping into fall and Thanksgiving crafts!  Our first post-Halloween activity this year was a super simple leaf (and acorn) paint stamping craft.  This craft takes less than 5 minutes to set up and I love that the kids can decorate their papers however they choose.

For this project, you will need:p1020645

  • White construction paper (I used the 12 x 18 inch paper for this craft)
  • Red, orange, yellow, and brown paint (or any colors of your choosing)
  • Paper plates
  • Leaf and other fall cookie cutters

p1020656Pour your paint onto paper plates (one color per plate) and divide your cookie cutters between the plates.  For younger artists, you may need to demonstrate how to press the cookie cutter into the paint and then press it onto the paper to make an outline of the shape.  Now you’re ready to get stamping!

G, B, and R had fun choosing which colors and cookie cutters to use for their papers.  B (4 years old) liked his paper nice and neat with no overlapping shapes.   G (4 years old) made a colorful collage with overlapping leaves and acorns and then made a second paper using cookie cutter prints and fingerprints dots.  (And then abandoned stamping to finger paint a third paper orange!)  A (2 years old) stamped her paper enthusiastically for a more abstract look.  What lovely leaf art!