Fall Sensory Activities
Sensory exploration is so important for preschool-age children. It helps children to better understand how their bodies work while discovering the world around them. While we are all familiar with the five basic sensory systems, we actually have seven sensory systems:
- olfactory (smell)
- visual (sight)
- auditory (hearing)
- gustatory (taste)
- tactile (touch)
- proprioceptive (understanding the position of the body in regard to other bodies/objects)
- vestibular (motion/movement)
We must learn to integrate all of our sensory systems to take in information and process it appropriately. When creating sensory activities based on a particular theme, I try to consider all types of sensory input.
Visual, Tactile, and Auditory Fall Sensory Activities
One fun idea is to create a themed sensory bin. Sensory bins allow children to explore using sight, touch, and even sound. Below are the steps to create a fun sensory bin!
Begin by finding a large bin. I like a bin large enough for two children to play simultaneously.
- Find items that match the particular theme. For Fall, I chose small foam pumpkins, gourds, and apples, pretend leaves in multiple colors, and raffia. Select items that are different colors and can create different sounds by crinkling or rubbing them together.
- Place all the items in a bid. Add in additional ways to explore the items, such as small shovels or rakes, a magnifying glass, safety glasses, and small containers. Giving additional tools to explore their sensory bins gives them that 'scientist' feeling.
- Give children the opportunity to manipulate the items as they wish. If they want to dump them on the floor to get a better view of everything in the bin, that's okay, too. Just place a large tablecloth or sheet on the floor for easy clean-up.
Olfactory and Gustatory Fall Activities
To explore one's olfactory system as part of a Fall theme, allow students to smell all of the delicious spices we associate with this time of year. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg are some of my favorites. The children can decide which scents are their favorite and which they do not prefer.
Similar to the scent activity, children can explore their sense of taste by sampling all different types of apples and comparing them. Which varieties are sweet? Which are tart? Which apple is your favorite?
Vestibular and Proprioceptive Fall Activities
To engage children in vestibular and proprioceptive activities, incorporate movement into your Fall theme. Set up a pretend apple orchard in your home or classroom by hiding apples in all different locations that will require children to crawl on all fours, reach on their tip-toes, and maybe even jump up high to retrieve the apples. Children can take turns holding a basket in a wagon being pulled by a friend or sibling who is collecting the apples.
How do you help your child explore his sensory systems?