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Have your kids started to notice any signs of fall yet? Maybe they’ve started seeing beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaves, and experienced the cooler weather, or maybe you live in an area where the fall changes are more subtle.
No matter if the leaves outside your window have started to change colors or if they haven’t changed at all, your little learners will have a blast with this fall-themed sensory bin! It’s super simple to put together using items you may already have around your home and yard.
Sensory bins are an engaging way for toddlers and preschoolers to explore colors and textures of fall objects.
Sensory bins are a lot of fun to explore but they are not about keeping kids busy, instead, they provide an opportunity for children to be successful, regardless of their language or cognitive abilities.
You can expand the use of this Fall Sensory Bin and keep exploring it for a couple of weeks by incorporating language development, counting, and other learning activities!
So let’s get started and create a fun and engaging fall sensory bin for your toddler or preschooler!
What Is A Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin is simply a large container of some sort filled with materials and various objects that are intentionally picked out to stimulate different senses.
Sensory bins are a lot of fun, but they’re also an important part of any early childhood learning experience. Sensory play provides opportunities for young children to learn in meaningful ways as they learn best when they can touch and feel something.
Typically sensory bins work to challenge six different senses (source):
- Tactile (touch)
- Auditory (sound)
- Visual (sight)
- Olfactory (smell)
- Proprioceptive (Pressure)
- Gustatory (taste)
A sensory bin is not about keeping kids busy. Instead, sensory bins provide open-ended experiences without any pre-defined outcomes of playing with or exploring the materials inside the bin.
Children use their senses, imagination, and creativity to freely explore the materials inside the sensory bin and get an opportunity to be successful, regardless of their language or cognitive abilities.
How to Make a Fall Sensory Bin
This fall sensory bin is easy to put together using items you may already have around your home and yard.
The bin is full of items that remind us of the colors, scents, and symbols of autumn. To set up this fun fall sensory bin experience, first, you’ll want to gather your materials.
What You Need:
Tips! Don’t spend a lot of money making a sensory bin. Instead, go through your cupboards & kitchen drawers, craft supplies, toy boxes, and holiday ornaments. You’ll likely find lots of interesting items once you start looking.
Measuring cups, scoops, muffin tins, and bowls are perfect for pouring, sorting, and organizing.
Tongs and tweezers are always fun and they’re great for fine motor development and preparing little ones for using scissors.
1. Start by pouring the dried black beans into the bin. Spread it out into an even layer.
2. Then add a few mini-pumpkins.
3. Put some fake leaves in the bin.
4. Add pinecones that you’ve collected from your yard.
5. Add scoops, tweezers, bubble tongues, and small containers.
Your autumn leaf bin is ready to be explored!
How to Play with the Fall Sensory Bin
- Introduce the tweezers to your child and demonstrate how they can use them to pick up the leaves and place them in the containers, this is wonderful for developing fine motor skills.
- Invite your kids to use the bubble tongs to place pine cones in containers or cupcake bins for additional counting and one-to-one practice.
- Allow your child to play with the black beans without getting discouraged. They’re getting plenty of fine motor practice as they manipulate the scoops, tweezers, and items in the bin.
The most important thing about any sensory experience is that your children are having fun while learning through play!
How to Expand the Use of the Fall Sensory Bin
You can expand the use of this Fall Sensory Bin and keep exploring it for a couple of weeks. We divide playing with the sensory bin into different learning activities:
When I first introduce a new sensory bin, the kids get to spend a lot of time to explore the contents of the bin on their own.
The kids will feel the different textures, smell the scents, and explore the objects. This self-directed learning and sensory exploration is the primary focus of sensory bins.
After a couple of days of exploring, we will incorporate some more specific learning skills to extend the use of the sensory bin.
2. Language Development
Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate language development into playing with the sensory bin:
- Name objects in the bin and ask your child to locate the objects.
- Then, when they are able to, ask your child to pick up an object and name it.
- Name the colors of objects in the bin.
- Play “I Spy” with preschoolers by taking turns describing an object using its physical description, i.e. colors, shape, size and texture.
- Smell the scented items. Talk about what those scents remind you of.
- Make up a story using some of the items in the sensory bin.
Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate counting into playing with the sensory bin:
- Choose a kind of object. Find all of those items in the sensory bin. Count how many in all.
- Choose two different kinds of objects. Find all of those items in the sensory bin. Count how many there are of each and then compare the two numbers. Which is more, less or are there the same amount?
- Roll a dice and find that many objects.
- Roll a dice and decide what number is one more than the number rolled. Find that many objects and then do the same with one less than the number on the dice.
Sorting is always fin and it’s a great way to work on fine motor skills by sorting the objects using tweezers and bubble tongs. Sort objects from the bin by:
Pattern activities can easily be implemented into playing with a sensory bin:
- If your child is just getting started patterning, make a pattern for your child. Then ask him or her to copy it or extend the pattern.
- Create a pattern and ask your child which object comes next.
- Invite your child to come up with a pattern on their own.
Want more fun autumn ideas? Be sure to check out this list of +20 Fun Fall Activities for Kids to Do This Autumn and this Easy Paper Plate Apple Craft That Will Get Kids Excited For Fall!
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