Autumn is a wonderful season and is a perfect time for children to become inspired by nature. With bright vibrant colours are all around, fresh leaves to crunch and jump in and throw in the air! There are endless sensory activities that can be done and both adults and children can enjoy this beautiful season.
Babies & wobblers – Sensory Play
Option 1 – Babies
For the babies, stick the items to a large piece of card and place clear plastic sticky wrap over it to secure the items and create a texture wall. The babies can sit and feel the shapes and texture. Hygiene is very important especially for younger babies, as you know how babies love to put things in their mouth.
Option 2 – Wobblers
For the wobblers or older babies you can then add these items into a clear ziplock bag and give them to the children to feel, shake and throw. They can feel the texture, shape of the items and see the amazing autumn colours.
Toddlers – “Outdoor Playdough”
Children love sensory play and smell can add another aspect to this, especially with a nature theme. The children can join you outside (if possible) to gather leaves, cones and items to use in the playdough! If you do not have an option to bring them outside then ask the parents to collect some over the weekend.
How to make the playdough
- 1 cup of salt
- 3 cups of plain flour (I recommend Gluten free flour if any children have celiac disease)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Food colouring or non toxic paint (orange, brown, yellow)
- 1 cup (250ml) of water
- Give your dough an autumnal twist by adding cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg (separate the dough into bowls before adding)
- Mix all the dry ingredients and add oil.
- Add the food colouring to water.
- Slowly add the water until the desired consistency is reached.
- Kneading will help to improve the texture, so let your kids get into it!
- After the children are finished playing, place the dough into a ziplock bag, squeeze out the air and it will stay fresh for the next day.
Preschoolers – Sensory walk
Going outside during their time in the service is essential for their wellbeing and development. I would advise you to bring the children in small groups as it will be quieter and an easier sensory environment for everyone.
While with them in a quiet park, outdoor area, ask them the following;
- What can you hear?
- What can you smell?
- What can you see?
- What can you taste?
- What can you feel?
Bring everything that children collect into your classroom.
Place the outdoor items (twigs, leaves, cones, etc) that were collected on the floor, then lay out a large sheet of paper on the floor, place down paint, pastels, crayons and let them create their own masterpiece. The idea is that the children will use their outside experience in their art. I suggest that you do not direct them in any way or give instruction. Perhaps have some music playing in the background, perhaps Beethoven Moonlight Sonata with Relaxing Nature Sounds.