The Big List of Fall Sensory Bin Ideas
Fall is filled with sensory wonders to take it – crunchy leaves, changing colors, warm apple cider, and pumpkin scented everything!
It’s getting to be that time of year when the heat index has been off the charts for long enough, and we are all beyond ready for cool temps and a crisp breeze.
It’s the perfect time to throw together some new Fall themed sensory bins to pull out when you need a minute to get something done!
I’ve rounded up our favorite Fall Sensory Bins below for inspiration.
The key word here is inspiration.
The main goal is to create an EASY sensory activity, so remember to be
lazy creative and substitute as needed with any items you already have around the house!
Little Suzy isn’t going to know you subbed plain rice for the pretty pumpkin scented orange rice on this list. It’s fine.
If you’re less into basic fall things and more into Halloween, check out these 23 Spooky Sweet Halloween Sensory Bins!
Why Make a Sensory Bin?
You might be wondering why your kid can’t just play with one of the many toys that have taken over your whole entire house.
Ever noticed how your toddler will lose interest in that fancy expensive toy after 5 minutes, but will spend a good 10 minutes playing with the box and shipping paper it came in?
Toddlers naturally crave sensory input. They are developmentally programmed to seek out new situations and explore them using their senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and even balance and motion.
Because they need sensory input to develop, they will engage in sensory play longer than they would play with their regular toys.
Sensory play helps toddlers exercise developmentally appropriate skills and concepts such as:
- fine motor movement
- gross motor movement
- cause and effect
- spatial awareness
- problem solving
Basically, sensory bins hold your toddler’s little attention span for good amount of time while helping them develop and learn.
They are low-effort and cheap to make, and in return you get an engaged, happy, learning toddler.
Why not give it a try?
How to Make a Fall Sensory Bin
If you haven’t made a sensory bin before, it’s really quite simple.
- Choose a base. This can be anything you have around the house that might appeal to the senses – water, uncooked pasta or rice, pom-poms, whatever. Pour it in a bin.
- Add tools. Toddlers love to scoop and pour things so measuring cups and kitchen utensils work great.
- Add other fillers (optional). Most tots are perfectly happy to scoop and pour with rice and cups so you can start with that, but you might want to spice it up later with some new additions. Since we’re making a fall themed sensory bin, think fake (or real) leaves, pinecones, mini pumpkins, etc.
As you know toddlers like to put things in their mouths so consider your child’s tendencies as you decide what to use. You know your kid best.
I will give you plenty of ideas for taste-safe fillers throughout this list, since my personal toddler enjoys tasting most everything.
Before we dive into the Big List of Fall Sensory Bin Ideas, here are a few ideas for Fall themed sensory bin fillers:
- oats (dyed or plain)
- cooked spaghetti
- pumpkin guts
- mini pumpkins and gourds
- fall leaves (real or artificial)
- spider rings
- dyed pasta
- cotton balls
- cinnamon sticks
- pumpkin moon sand
Keeping in mind what you already have around the house, check out our favorite ideas below for your Fall Sensory Inspiration!
Pin for later!
20+ Fall Sensory Bin Ideas
Adult supervision is required for all activities on this website. Some materials may pose a choking hazard. Use good judgement when selecting activities – nobody knows your child better than you!
Pom-poms and toilet paper rolls sound simple enough!
This Apple Picking Sensory Bin requires just a tiny bit of effort in return for a super cute fall themed activity.
You can add the giant tweezers to “pick” the apples with for older toddlers or preschoolers – I grabbed some at the Dollar Tree last time I was there!
For younger toddlers like mine, just let them use their chubby little fingers to pick the apples off the tree. Pincer grasp practice for the win!
I’ve actually been on the hunt for pincer grasp activities. My little tot never really perfected hers since she prefers to eat food by shoving giant handfuls into her mouth all at once.
So this is perfect for us.
‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything, and that means moon sand, too.
This pumpkin scented moon sand only requires 3 ingredients and they are probably sitting in your pantry right now, just begging to be played with.
Moon sand provides a great sensory play experience all on it’s own, but feel free to throw in some cookie cutters or utensils to add to the fun.
This should keep your toddler occupied long enough for you to sip your pumpkin spice latte in peace!
This easy sensory bin filled with miscellaneous autumn themed items is so pretty to look at!
It incorporates tons of different colors, textures, and smells.
I love the idea of using popcorn kernels as a sensory bin filler, although I will probably skip them this year since my tot is still in the “must taste everything” phase.
This simple fall sensory bin can easily be tweaked to meet your needs, and you can probably find all the supplies at the Dollar Tree.
I absolutely LOVE this fun pumpkin boat sensory bin idea!
You could use this so many different ways – boat races, sink or float experiments, scoop and pour practice, or just good old creative play.
The set up really couldn’t be easier – just water and mini pumpkins.
Don’t forget to save the pumpkin guts you scoop out for another sensory bin filler!
This sandbox leaf raking activity can be done in a plastic bin or an actual sandbox.
It’s great practice for raking your yard when your kid gets a little older! 😉
You could make this taste safe by grinding up some old fashioned oats in the blender instead of using sand.
Only 3 ingredients required to make this messy but fun apple scented cloud dough!
This is a great sensory bin to take outside on a pretty fall day.
I love how pretty the color naturally turns out – no food coloring needed!
Cloud dough is so much fun to play with on it’s own, but add some pie tins and cookie cutters for added entertainment.
You’ll find several different textures to explore in this oatmeal apple sensory bin, from crunchy cereal to soft cloud dough. (The cloud dough recipe included here is not taste safe, so I would use the apple cloud dough recipe mentioned above.)
You can easily use the ideas listed in the post to create your own awesome fall sensory bin using whatever you have in the pantry.
There are so many great ideas in this post that appeal to all of your toddler’s senses, but I especially love all the different scents involved!
This magnetic apples sensory bin uses split peas as the sensory filler which was new to me! Of course you can use beans or whatever you have around the house, but the green split peas work nicely with the green and red apple theme.
The “magnetic apples” can easily be DIY’d in a heartbeat!
My favorite part about this sensory bin is the magnetic wands. Definitely ordering a set for future sensory bin play!
This fall harvest sensory bin can be easily thrown together using any fall related items you have. If you are lacking in fall themed things, a quick trip to the dollar store should be enough to create this simple bin!
This bin uses a combination of popcorn kernels and straw. I’m going to stick with straw for my mouthy little one, but you do what you think is best for your child.
Pinecones, toy tractors, and glittery leaves are just a few of the fun sensory play ideas you’ll find in this post!
This fall leaves busy box incorporates pulling leaves out of an empty wipes container which is absolutely genius.
Do you have any idea how much my toddler loves pulling wipes out of the box?
You could also use an empty tissue box – an equally thrilling activity for any toddler.
I decided to incorporate this busy box idea with a fall themed sticky wall activity:
- Step 1: Pull the leaves out of the box.
- Step 2: Stick them to a contact paper tree.
I must admit that this clean mud recipe was not what I expected when I clicked on it.
Would you believe that ripped up toilet paper is a main ingredient?
This put me off at first and I almost deleted it from my list. Until I remembered how much my toddler loves ripping toilet paper off the roll.
And how we don’t keep toilet paper on a holder like normal people anymore. Because we have to hide it from her. Or she will waste an entire roll in the time it takes me to wash my face.
So this is a pretty easy sensory bin filler to make, and your toddler can joyfully help you make it by ripping toilet paper off the roll to her heart’s content.
My favorite part about this apple pie sensory bin is the setup.
Give this article a read – I love how Jennifer includes her daughter in creating the bin by smelling the different spices in the pantry and choosing which ones to add to the “apple pie”!
You can put your baking supplies to use for this sensory bin – measuring cups, pie tins, etc.
This sensory bin touches on so many different skills and senses. We can’t wait to give it a try!
This cute color matching apple sensory bin is a different spin on the other fine motor apple picking sensory bin I shared earlier.
This time, your toddler picks the “apples” (pom-poms) and sorts them by color, placing them into the “tree trunk” of the matching color.
Make sure you check out the post for a free printable template to help you make your apple trees!
The materials used are similar to the other apple picking activity shared on this list, so you won’t have to put in much work to prepare this one!
Sometimes the simplest activities are the best!
This easy toddler fall sensory bin idea is one of the easiest on this list to set up.
The colorful leaves and fall acorns make for a simple sensory experience without much work on your part.
You could also incorporate spoons and containers to make this a scoop and transfer activity!
Apple Oobleck makes a great sensory bin filler. (Warning: It’s also a messy one!)
You can pick it up and mold it like a solid, but it will quickly turn back into a liquid!
So what is it – a solid or a liquid? You can get the recipe and read more about the science of oobleck here.
Either way, it sure is fun to play with!
Who doesn’t love playdough?!
This recipe has no flour, no salt, and smells like freshly baked apple pie.
Allergy friendly and perfect for a fall themed playdough bin!
Another no flour, no salt, no cook recipe for the win!
This one is pumpkin spice scented and will make your house smell divine.
Pumpkin play clay is perfect to add to a fall sensory bin, or just play with on it’s own.
The ingredients are kid-friendly, so you can also enjoy making the clay together!
This pumpkin scented rice bin post has a great tutorial on how to dye your rice and make it scented. It’s actually not too hard and you could turn it into a fun shaking activity if you want to have your toddler help!
You do have to let the rice dry before you can play with it, so you might want to make this ahead of time.
Then just dump it in a bin and add in your favorite fall themed items!
Rice works great with scoop and transfer activities and pouring practice, so throw in some large spoons and measuring cups as well!
If it’s still super hot where you live, head outside for some fall sensory water play!
Throw in a little food coloring (or not), some fall leaves, and cups.
Toddlers love anything that involves scooping and pouring, so this one is a sure winner.
Jello makes a great taste-safe sensory bin filler!
This one might make a mess, so take it outside on a warm fall day.
You can play with the jello sensory bin on it’s own or add some cups and fall items if you don’t mind them getting a little sticky!
I will be adding different sized containers and utensils to this one for a little fine motor practice.
And maybe some acorns or something to dig through and search for if I’m feeling fancy.
Explore harvesting sunflowers this Fall with this cute scented sunflower sensory bin.
The Dollar Tree usually has fake sunflowers that can be used, or you could add in real ones if you have them.
Even if you choose to skip the sunflowers, check out this post because it includes an easy way to make your rice scented using essential oils!
Cornmeal makes a fun sensory bin filler.
It has a texture similar to sand and while it is taste-safe, it doesn’t taste great so here’s to hoping our tots don’t try to eat it all.
Make a fun Fall cornmeal sensory box by burying covering some Fall-themed items in cornmeal and letting your tot dig away!
Cornmeal also is very satisfying to scoop and pour.
As we know toddlers love to scoop and pour things into different containers so go ahead and dump some cornmeal in a bin, throw in some cups and fall-looking things, and enjoy your me time! (while supervising, obviously.)
People are all about eating turkey in November but turkeys need to eat too, so why not feed a turkey some pom-poms?
Or you could feed him acorns, beans, ripped toilet paper…whatever you already have laying around so that you don’t have to go to the store.
You can make your turkey as fancy as you want. Dollar tree feathers, construction paper, whatever. Nobody here is judging you if you decide to just use a plain un-decorated water bottle and call it a turkey.
Your kid is still getting fine motor practice either way.
I realize that this is the third miscellaneous fall items bin that I’ve included, but I liked the use of the muffin tin with this one. The pinecones look cute in there.
My toddler loves to fit objects into cups so it made me think I should let her play with a muffin tin.
That way she can spend a long time trying to push unreasonably large objects into small spaces, and I can sip a pumpkin beer in peace.
What? I said she can experiment with size and spatial awareness, and I can clean the kitchen.
Have fun making this fabulous Fall sensory bin!
Fall Sensory Bin Inspiration
So now that you’re inspired what kind of a Fall sensory bin will you make?
We would love to see! Share your Fall Sensory Bin on Instagram and tag Happy Toddler Club using the hashtag #happytoddlerclub!
I’ll be updating this list as we try more Fall Sensory Bins. Don’t forget to save it to Pinterest below so you can check back later!
Happy Fall Ya’ll!
More Sensory Play Ideas:
- 23 Spooky Sweet Halloween Sensory Bins
- Easy & Fun Sticky Wall Ideas
- Gorgeous No-Mess Smush Painting (for Babies & Toddlers)
- Pom-Pom Scoop & Transfer Color Sort
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sticky Wall
- How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag with Toddlers