Do you and your students love sensory bins? If so, you’ll want to add this simple fall leaf sensory bin to your plans. It’s incredibly easy to put together, and you don’t need many materials to get started.
I think this leaves sensory bin would be a great addition to your fall activities for preschoolers. Kindergarten kids are sure to get a kick out of it, as well. It’s open-ended and you can easily make adjustments based on your students’ ages and interests.
In addition to the sensory input, this fall sensory bin also lends itself to the exploration of important math and literacy skills. As with most things in early childhood education, play is the way to learn and practice so many learning concepts! And this leaf sensory play is no different.
You can set this sensory invitation up in a large sensory bin for your students. Or you can make individual sensory bins for the kids. It just depends on your preference and the interests of your kids.
Leaf Sensory Bin
Now let’s take a look at how you can make your own fall leaves sensory bin! Please keep in mind that you don’t have to create yours exactly like ours. Make changes as you see fit!
Materials for Fall Leaves Sensory Play
As I mentioned above, you don’t really need much to set up the leaf sensory bin. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
And that’s about it! When you’re gathering items for the sensory bin, I suggest looking for a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes for the leaves.
And keep in mind that you can add any sensory tools you and your kids prefer. We just used a measuring cup this time around.
How to Use the Leaf Sensory Bin
Once you have all of your materials gathered, it’s time to get the sensory bin ready to go. First, place the fake leaves in your favorite sensory bin. Next, add the wooden and acrylic leaves. Then pop in any sensory tools you’d like to use. Finally, call the kids over to play and explore!
As mentioned above, this is an open-ended activity . . . as most sensory bins are. That means there really aren’t any “right” or “wrong” ways for the children to play. Here are some ways you might see the kids interacting with the leaves sensory bin:
- Shoving their hands into the leaves to feel everything on their hands.
- Grabbing handfuls of leaves and then letting them fall back into the bin.
- Sorting all of the leaves by color, shape, size, or type.
- Counting the various types of leaves.
- Making patterns using the faux leaves.
- Stacking the wooden leaves to make leaf towers.
- Stirring all of the materials together to make “leaf soup”.
- Testing to see how many leaves will fit in one measuring cup.
Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list. Your students may play with the fall leaf sensory bin in so many different ways! That’s one of my favorite parts of sensory play. I just love seeing how the children bring their own interests and imaginations to the sensory invitation.
What are the Kids Learning with the Fall Sensory Bin?
Now, I think playing just for the sake of playing is okay. In fact, I think “just playing” is very important in early childhood classrooms. That being said, sometimes adults forget all of the things kids are learning as they play at school or at home. So here’s a peek at some of the concepts the kids are exploring with the fall leaf sensory bin:
- Sensory input (particularly touch and sight)
- Sorting by various attributes
- Color identification
- Vocabulary development (especially related to the textures and colors of the leaves)
Depending on how the children play with this fall bin, your students might be practicing even more/different early learning concepts! But you can rest assured that a lot is going on as the children explore the fall leaves sensory bin.
Other Ideas for the Leaf Sensory Bin
I mentioned earlier that you can easily make tweaks to this sensory play idea. If you’re looking for some ideas for doing just that, I’ve got you covered. Here are some ways you can adjust this sensory bin:
- Use real leaves in place of the fake leaves. This would be great as an outdoor sensory bin. Let the kids collect the leaves and add them to a big bin on the playground!
- Add water! Be sure to take the wooden leaves out of the bin first, though. The acrylic leaves and fake leaves would be great in a water bin. The kids can explore sinking and floating, and water adds a different sensory aspect to the leaf sensory bin.
- Locate even more leaf-themed items for the sensory bin. Mini erasers, hole-punched paper leaves, foam leaves, felt leaves, etc. would all be great additions to the leaves sensory play.
- Depending on what kind of leaves you add to the bin, consider adding scissors. Scissors and real leaves are a great combination for kids who are practicing their cutting skills (with proper adult supervision, as with all of my activities, of course).
- Add other sensory materials for different textures within the bin. For example, I think adding some colorful corn (learn how to dye corn kernels here) would make a fun addition!
Would your students love this simple leaf sensory bin? Be sure to save this post for future reference!
Even More Leaf Activities
Of course, I have to share some more leaf activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids:
- Fall Cutting Strips
- Fall Leaf Color Stomp
- Leaf People Fall Craft
- Fall Leaves Number Towers
- Leaf Potato Stamp Art
- Colorful Leaf Sun Catcher
If your students enjoy the leaf sensory bin, I bet they’ll enjoy the above activities, too!
Leaf Preschool Lesson Plans
Let Preschool Teacher 101 make your life a whole lot easier with fully-developed, done-for-you resources. Like our fall leaf lesson plans. The pack is over 200 pages and comes with a weekly overview, detailed daily lesson plans, book suggestions, whole group lessons, small group activities, center ideas, and related printables. Click on the image below to get yours now:
Be sure to check out The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101, too. It’s a membership for early childhood educators like you. Members get access to our materials (and member-only content) at a steep discount.