Pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice, Apples and Cinnamon! It all sounds like the perfect ingredients for a dessert or a warm comfort drink. Well, maybe not all at once. These are the scents of fall! There are devoted fans to the Pumpkin Spice Latte that Starbucks serves and count down to this time period of the year. We all have sounds and scents that invoke memories of autumn.
As a huge fan of fall, I love most things that surround this season. Each year, we expose our children to new experiences involving this time of the year. We take them to new farms, pumpkin picking (and then converting the pumpkin into a jack o’ lantern using a new style and then baking a new recipe from the pumpkin) and investigating brain boosting experiences. So, as my family and I continue to introduce diverse tactile bins to my children, we also incorporate outdoor activities as well.
In continuing with the exploration of sensory activities for the Mommy University series Sensory Play, we bring:
5 Fall Sensory-Based Activities
Sunflowers achieve their highest bloom around Labor Day which is not technically fall but it signals the arrival of September and chilly weather, so for this article I am including sunflowers here. At Mommy University, we love sunflowers. They represent sunshine, hope, and all good things. We wrote about 5 Reasons to Visit Sunflowers in NJ as well as a review of Donaldson Sunflower Tours: A Must See NJ Experience.
Visiting Sussex County Sunflower Maze this year, we picked up sunflowers and of course I brought them home and let the kids play with them. We had conversations about how the bees enjoy flowers (my children are very young so we will introduce the concept of pollination next year) and how birds eat the seeds. My son was overjoyed to play with sunflowers and seeds. In this sensory bin we had several sunflowers and sunflower seeds.
Apples and Cinnamon
My children love oatmeal, apples and cinnamon. As the weather chills, they increase eating oatmeal and adding apples and cinnamon is an absolute must in our home. The sensory bin includes apples, oatmeal and cinnamon sticks. Since I love the smell of cinnamon, I sprinkled a dash into this bin. My children enjoyed smelling the cinnamon sticks, tasting the oatmeal and eating the apples. This bin did not last long in our home!
Carving a plump pumpkin is incredibly fun especially since there are so many possibilities. If your kids are young, you can melt crayons on them or stick them with character pieces like Mr. Potato Head. As they get older you can revert to the traditional carving of a jack o’ lantern which can be a simple face to a complicated image. More creative options include hammering cookie cutters into the pumpkin or using a drill to punch holes and then filling with holiday lights. The decoration possibilities are endless! A fun part not to be overlooked is sticking your hands in the moist pulp center and pulling it’s insides out. I love listening to my daughter’s “ewww” over-enunciated. What you do with the pulp and seeds after that is your choice.
As you visit a farm, don’t be surprised if you see a small room or area set aside for kids to play with corn. It’s fun! Kids love to dig and fill containers with the corn. At Mommy University, we love farms. This is a great activity for them. Some areas will have dump trucks and diggers which is great for the kids to fill up and empty.
The distinctive sound of leaves underfoot is a great indicator that it is fall. As a kid, I remember stepping on crunchy orange and red ombre leaves. Take the kids outside, rake up the leaves and jump in. If you live in an apartment or don’t have a backyard, then take a walk in a park and let the kids jump on the leaves. Don’t be shy, you can jump in too!
What other fall sensory activities do you do with your family? Leave us a comment!