5 Fall Sensory Bins to Help Your Preschooler Develop Fine Motor Skills

These fall sensory bins are quick and easy to make using inexpensive materials. Check out five fun bins to create for your preschooler so they can enjoy seasonal learning through play.

Fall sensory bins are wonderful additions to hands-on learning for your preschooler. In this post, you’ll find five bins that are quick and easy to create using inexpensive materials. They are great activities for your kids to enjoy while they learn through play. Plus, while your kids are busy with these, you can homeschool older siblings or attend to household chores.

fall sensory bins

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In our home, we do a lot of learning through play in the early years. I don’t formally teach my children until they are at least 6 years old. For us, sensory bins are a fantastic tool to use to help my preschoolers develop fine motor skills. Pouring, scooping, using tongs and other activities like these strengthen your little one’s hands, the same muscles needed for writing and cutting. Plus it’s easy to add in additional skill practice like math and literacy skills as well.

What is the purpose of sensory bins?

Sensory bins are child-led resources that allow children to explore using hands-on play. They help with development of many skills preschoolers need, especially fine motor skills. However, sensory bins are open-ended and can also include materials that help practice literacy, math, and other skills as well. Sensory bins can be made using a large variety of containers and can be themed for holidays, seasons, or to promote particular skills.

What do you put in a fall sensory bin?

Quite an assortment of materials make a perfect addition to fall sensory bins. I like to change out my preschooler’s bins about once a month. This way I can easily keep them seasonal and fresh. They are a great addition to fall activities for preschoolers.

When I begin assembling sensory activities, the first thing I do is search around the house for items I may already have. This might be rice to use as the base or some trinkets to add on top. After that, I’ll take a quick trip to a dollar store, Hobby Lobby, or even the local grocery store. I’ll look for good items to use as the base as well as seasonal items that I can also include. The little plastic seasonal pieces sold as table scatter are my favorite to use in sensory bins. They make great counters and are usually easy to scoop or pick up with tongs.

*Many of the items mentioned are choking hazards, so please supervise your children when they use sensory bins.*

Good additions to a fall sensory bin:

  • Oats
  • Chickpeas or rice dyed in fall colors
  • Mesh tubing in fall colors
  • Unpopped corn kernels
  • Pompoms in fall colors
  • Fake fall leaves
  • Little fall-themed items, like pumpkins, leaves, and apples–usually labeled as table scatter
  • Small fall decorations
  • Scoops in various sizes
  • Tongs in a variety of colors/materials
  • Small bowls
  • Plastic storage containers with lids so you can make ahead of time and store on shelf all month

5 Examples of Fall Sensory Bin Ideas

Below I have five examples of fun sensory bins that are perfect for fall. The best part is that you can easily set all five of these bins up in less than thirty minutes! Watch me create these bins quickly and easily in the YouTube video below.

1. Halloween/Spider Sensory Bin

Halloween/spider sensory bin

This first bin is a great idea for a non-scary Halloween-ish sensory bin. I found the orange mesh tubing at Dollar Tree, along with other colors like purple, black, and green, and cut it into smaller pieces of different sizes. The container also came from Dollar Tree in the storage container section. It’s a smaller bin which fits the tubing perfectly. I also added some small black spiders that I’ve had for a few years and some Halloween-colored gems I found at Hobby Lobby in the seasonal area.

The tubing is so fun to pick up and squish, so your little one may enjoy just that. Additionally, the tubing pieces can be ordered according to size, which is why I cut them into different sizes. Your child can also pick up a piece of tubing and find another that is the same size. Patterns can be made with the contents and they can also be counted. Since all the items I used are in one of three colors, your child can also sort the items by color.

2. Apple Pie Sensory Bin

apple pie sensory bin

Does your child love apples or baking? Then this apple pie bin will be a hit. For this bin, I used oats as the base. I included red pompoms to represent apples, several cinnamon sticks, and a pair of tongs and scoop. I also added a small muffin tin, though a little tart pan would also work well. Mini apple erasers or small plastic apples can be used instead of the pompoms. The pompoms and muffin tin can be found at a dollar store.

For this bin, your child can pretend to combine the pieces as ingredients for an apple pie. The oats allow a different texture than your child may be used to. Cinnamon sticks offer a wider sensory experience by including smell. Fine motor skill development is practiced through scooping and pouring and picking up pompoms with tongs.

3. Pumpkin Sensory Bin

pumpkin sensory bin

A pumpkin sensory bin is another fun activity perfect for fall. To create this bin, I dyed a couple of bags of dry chickpeas red, orange, and yellow to use as the base. Then I added some plastic pumpkin table scatter pieces, a metal scoop, and a small, plastic orange basket. Inside the basket I placed some pumpkin number cards.

Preschoolers can scoop pumpkins or chickpeas into the basket. They can also put the number cards in numerical order. You could put just 1-5 number cards in for younger kids, or numbers 1-10 or even higher for older preschoolers or kindergarteners. To practice one-to-one correspondence and counting, children can put the correct number of pumpkins with each number card.

4. Fall Leaves Sensory Bin

fall leaves sensory bin

The changing colors of leaves in the fall inspired this fall leaves sensory bin. Unpopped corn kernels are the base for this container. Then I added several colors of plastic leaves sold as table scatter in craft stores, along with tongs, a wooden scoop and bowl. Like the pumpkin sensory bin above, I added fall leaves number cards hidden through the kernels as well.

This fall leaves sensory bin can be used in much the same manner as the pumpkin sensory bin. Preschoolers will love scooping the kernels into the small bowl, then dumping them out to start all over again. Even just running their fingers through the kernels is a great sensory experience. Then they can use the tongs to pick up the leaves. They can count them and add the correct amount to each number card. Additionally they can create patterns with the leaves. Then the leaves can be sorted by color as well, practicing even more important preschool skills.

5. Fall Fun Sensory Bin

fall fun sensory bin

The final fall sensory bin is simply for fall fun. It contains several different items that represent fall. The base is orange shredded paper that can be found in the party section of many stores. A wide variety of colors are available to choose from. I believe I found mine at Dollar Tree. Then I added an orange pair of tongs from Hobby Lobby and three clear bowls also found in the party section of Dollar Tree. The smaller items include acorns, wooden fall-colored leaves and small squirrels, all found at Hobby Lobby.

Children can sort each type of item into the small bowls, picking them up with the tongs. The shredded paper makes this more challenging as the pieces like to fall under the paper. Patterns can easily be made with the different items as well. Many children will simply enjoy running their hands around the paper, giving them a different sensory experience from the corn kernels above. The small items can also be counted, with or without number cards.

Fall sensory bins for preschoolers are wonderful activities to develop important skills while learning through play. You can easily set them up using inexpensive materials and theme them for seasons like fall. Your child will love playing with them independently. You’ll love having time to teach older children, tend to a baby, or attend to household chores. Hopefully the ideas shared here will inspire you to create fun play for your preschooler.

Hi, I'm Christy!
Hi, I’m Christy!

I’m a homeschooling mom of 4, from preschool to high school. Homeschooling can be overwhelming, but I believe you can simplify your homeschool day so it’s manageable and enjoyable. When you join the Homeschooling in Progress community, you’ll learn ways to simplify your homeschool through emailed tips PLUS receive 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days guide so you can start simplifying your homeschool today!

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