Despite the fact that it has been over 80 degrees for the past few days, the leaves on our trees here are quickly changing colors and falling to the grass below. So it’s a perfect time to be talking about the colors of fall.

fall colors sensory bin for preschoolers

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Fall Sensory Bin

  • Dyed Pasta
  • Food Coloring
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Fake Leaves
  • Foam Dice
  • Acorns
  • Small Cups

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the #playfulpreschool hashtag for great weekly, themed ideas for your preschool.

If you aren’t aware, I have a special needs preschooler. According to her developmental assessment that was completed on Monday, she has the cognitive abilities of a 25 month old and the speech abilities of a 21 month old. As the pediatrician told me at our appointment that Shiloh was not ready to understand colors, I wondered what I would share with you for this week’s colors of a fall theme.

While Shiloh isn’t ready to understand the concept of what colors actually are, she can still benefit from exploring the colors and the beautiful textures of fall.

I tossed together some dyed pasta in yellow, deep purple, and brown and laid it out in a cardboard tray. Usually I use a large plastic bin, but I thought the cardboard tray would provide a deeper feeling with the fall colors.

Then I added in some acorns and some silk leaves.

Fall sensory bin with acorns, leaves and pasta

I also provided a small scoop, a tiny bowl and some mini-muffin liners for some open-ended exploration.

Lastly, I threw in a large foam die just for fun. Shiloh also doesn’t understand one-to-one correspondence, but it does make a fun addition to sensory play. (I played around with it and my 1st grader to get her ready for some addition that we’re going to do with the dice and acorns tomorrow.)

I showed Shiloh how to roll the die and then placed the correct number of acorns into the small bowl. She wasn’t very thrilled, but I think that’s because she wanted to be at the neighbor’s house playing on their slide…

Roll a die, count the correct number of acorns in this fun sensory bin.

She was, however, very excited to practice her scooping and pouring skills with the small scoop and mini-muffin liners.

She also explored the textures of the acorns.

preschooler holding acorn

Most preschoolers would be ready to talk about the different colors included in the sensory bin. You could also walk around your yard talking about the different fall colors that you see, collecting natural items to add to your sensory bin.

We could have added lots more acorns since a squirrel decided that he wanted to store his stash in our neighbor’s mailbox, but my 1st grader stole them all for herself after we helped clear them out so the postman wouldn’t have squirrel problems!

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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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  1. Kim, your sensory bin looks fantastic! I am sure Shiloh had a blast while being exposed to all the colours of fall.

  2. This is a beautifully colored bin that screams, “COME PLAY!” What a wonderful invitation to play with fall colors. Nicely done!

    1. We love exploring different topics through sensory bins since Shiloh needs to touch things in order to understand them.

  3. I like this fall sensory box. My girls would have enjoyed it. I think I still have some left over dyed pasta from our activity.

  4. Fantastic colours – what do you use to dye your pasta especially the purple and the brown?

    1. I am absolutely faithful to Wilton’s gel food coloring. These colors are in the basic colors 12 pack. Lately, I’ve just been using the dye and hand sanitizer and squishing it all together in a baggie.

  5. That is a hilarious story about the squirrel storing acorns in your neighbor’s mailbox. Love it! Your sensory bin is so rich with color and texture. Any preschooler would love to explore. Great learning discussions could happen during that exploration.

    1. It was quite funny because that squirrel had been hard at work. We left most of the nuts beside the mailbox, so that he could find them easily.

  6. The colors in this sensory bin are beautiful and an awesome representation of Fall. I wish I had this one to try out!

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