Add a simple scarecrow sensory bin to your list of fall activities for preschoolers. With a combination of novel and familiar materials, your students may just surprise you with how they choose to engage with the scarecrow sensory play activity!
Related: Scarecrow Art
Scarecrow Sensory Bin
This fall-themed sensory bin is incredibly easy to put together, and the combination of textures keeps the kids engaged for hours.
Or at least it kept many of my preschoolers, and my own son, entertained for quite a while each time I’ve put it together.
Scarecrow Sensory Materials
When I first put this bin together, I used a variety of items I had on-hand or grabbed from a craft shop. You can adjust what’s in your own scarecrow sensory bin depending on your preferences and supplies.
Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Hay (use raffia as an alternative and check for allergies first)
- Tiny straw hats
- Flannel pieces
- Black pompoms
The hay and tiny hats I purchased at a local craft store, with the buttons and pompoms already in my school workroom. The flannel pieces came from an old robe that used to fit my son.
In my mind, the hay, buttons, straw hats, and flannel pieces related directly to parts of a scarecrow. I added the black pompoms to serve as pretend crows.
Setting Up a Scarecrow Sensory Bin
Once you have gathered all of the materials, it’s time to put the sensory bin together.
Place the straw into your sensory table or large bin. Then place the remaining materials on top. That’s really all there is to it, when it comes to setting up the bin.
Related: Leaf Sensory Bin
The first time I made this, I didn’t tell the kiddos the theme of the bin because I wanted to let them discover it themselves. It’s always fun to observe the children as they explore different sensory materials.
How the Children Played
As the children came into the classroom, many of them exclaimed “there’s something new in the discovery center!” I loved seeing how excited they were to find the scarecrow sensory bin. Some of the children set about checking it out right away, while others waited to see what was in the bins.
Most of the children didn’t realize that the sensory play related to scarecrows. I heard one of them say, “I don’t know what she put in here, but I like it!” Even though they weren’t sure why I’d combined those materials, that didn’t stop them from playing!
Related: Scarecrow Crafts and Activities
After about five minutes, one of my students said “Oh my it’s a scarecrow! We can make scarecrows!” This exclamation led to a group of children focused on creating their own mini scarecrows. They did this by pushing pompoms and flannel pieces into the little hats.
Other children hid the buttons in the straw and challenged their friends to find as many as possible. Still other children had fun lifting bunches of hay up and watched it fall back into the scarecrow sensory bin. Of course, one of the kiddos took it upon himself to throw a huge amount of hay into the air!
Related: Farm Theme Preschool Snack
The large tarp I’d placed under the sensory center caught most of the hay, though. It would be a lot of fun to take some hay outside and let the children move it around . . . we might have to do this one day in the near future!
After letting the kids use their hands in the scarecrow bin, I also added some kitchen tongs to the center. A lot of the children enjoyed using the tongs to transfer hay from one bin to another.
Other Ways to Use the Hay Sensory Bin
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve used this bin with kids multiple times over the years. Every time, it’s been a hit. And every time the kids find some new way to explore the mixed-up scarecrows.
In addition to the original setup, there are a multitude of other ways to play and learn with the scarecrow sensory bin. Here are a few ideas:
- Add number cards or magnetic numbers to the bin. Encourage the children to count the appropriate number of buttons or pompoms out for each number.
- Place some doll clothes into the bin – jeans and a flannel shirt if possible. The children can stuff the clothes with the straw to make their own scarecrows. Be sure to add a hat or a cloth bag to make the head.
- Place magnetic letters and the kids’ names in the bin. The children can hunt for the letters to make their names as they play.
More Fall Sensory Bins
If your children loved this scarecrow sensory bin, here are a few more fall-themed bins to try out.
Rainbow Corn Sensory Bin from Fun-A-Day
Apple Sensory Bin with Dyed Chickpeas from Fun-A-Day
Acorn Sensory Bin from Play to Learn Preschool
Color Sorting Fall Sensory Bin from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Fall Leaves Sensory Bin from And Next Comes L
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Preschool Teacher 101 can make your life so much easier with fully completed resources for your classroom. Click on the images below for more information, and don’t forget to check out the membership options!
Originally published November 2013.