Fall Sensory Activities for Kids

Kids with special needs will find fall’s bounty full of opportunities to explore.

The beginning of new seasons is quite thrilling for kids, especially when it comes to fall. The joy of observing the colorful transformation of the trees, the crunch of leaves in a pile on the lawn and the scent of pumpkin pie baking in the oven are all amazing sensory experiences for kids with sensory and special needs.

Playing and engaging in sensory activities can promote a child’s emotional development, giving them ways to deal with stressful situations and recognize new emotions. Here are some simple sensory activities using seasonal items to try this fall.

Woodland Autumn Sensory Box

You are certain to find your child’s “autumn treasures” during a stroll around the park or the woods. Grab a cardboard box and add in one piece of fall-themed art, leaves, pine cones, twigs and animal figurines to explore the outside inside over and over again.

Autumn Treasure Sensory Bin

Line a plastic bin with uncooked rice. Add fall-themed items to your bin such as apples, gourds, pumpkin seeds, pine cones, corn husks and kernels, dried flowers, leaves and acorns. Hide the items among the rice and challenge your youngster to find them. Encourage them to describe the colors, shapes and textures as well as how each makes them feel.

Fall Sensory Bag

Fill up a zippered plastic bag with clear hair gel or hand gel. Add some food coloring (orange works well for a fall concept), then mix in small fall-themed items you know your child will like. Remove the air from the bag, zip it closed and let them squeeze and roll the bag as they wish.

Leaf Rubbings

Head out on a walk and collect a variety of leaves with different textures. When you get home, place each leaf under a piece of paper and rub a crayon or colored pencil over it to reveal its texture. Talk about how each leaf feels different or pick out the favorites.

Apple Tasting

On a trip to the apple orchard, make sure to pick a variety of apples with different colors, sizes and flavors. Then during playtime, encourage the kids to touch, smell and even taste the apples, while making sure they describe the textures and flavors they experience.

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