Q: Why did the Texan leaves refuse to fall during warm autumn?
A: They were “sticking” around to enjoy the toasty weather!
It’s no joke that as cold, fall weather hits many parts of the country, Texas basks in the hot, extended summer weather. As an eager Texan, I am ready to embrace the fall season despite our unpredictable fall.
Let’s bring the cozy spirit of autumn indoors with fun sensory activities for your little ones.
Leaf Pile Play
This is a hands-on way to experience the joys of autumn! I purchased faux fall leaves on Amazon to encourage my toddler to jump in. We love to throw them in the air and watch them float down to the carpet.
Set up a pumpkin exploration station with mini pumpkins, gourds, or squash. I love the bumpy seasonal gourds and how my toddler daughter, Kaylee Jane, reacts to the texture. Bonus: The gourds create decorative centerpieces!
>> RELATED READ :: A Guide to Fall Fun in Fort Worth :: Events, Farms, Mazes, and Pumpkin Patches <<
Homemade Autumnal Modeling Clay
Sensory play helps a child learn and then integrate the five senses: smell, touch, sight, hearing, and taste. It encourages exploration and promotes creativity.
I think fall scents like cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or apple cider is what childhood memories are made of. Natural ingredients for scented modeling clay is my top pick for a fun afternoon activity.
Here is an easy and quick homemade modeling clay recipe we love:
Pumpkin Spice Homemade Modeling Clay Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 1 cup salt
- 1 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon of a spice of your choice! I love pumpkin spice.
- 2 tablespoons oil (we use coconut oil)
- Combine all of the dry ingredients
- Slowly add boiling water (stir in 1 1/3 cups)
- Form a ball by mixing and kneading with your hands
- Rest the clay for about 10 minutes to cool
While the play dough is safe if your toddler takes a bite, go ahead and have some fall goodies ready to snack on instead.
Baking with Seasonal Fall Favorites
Let’s bake PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! We love all the fall treats to discover with our baking adventures. From mixing, giggles, and flour-covered hands, these moments are special. Baking fall-themed treats fills our home with the seasonal smells.
Baking is a great way to incorporate all the senses.
Our fall favorites to bake include pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon muffins, mini apple pies, leaf-shaped sugar cookies, caramel apples, pumpkin pancakes, and apple oatmeal cookies.
Autumnal Sensory Bin or Sensory Table Play
The sensory table is a daily activity in our home. It’s fun to change the bins with themes based on the seasons or what stage of development my toddler is in. Let your little ones dig, scoop, and uncover fall treasures.
Let those tiny fingers explore the textures, smells, and colors of the season.
Texture Treasure Hunt :: Set up a sensory bin with various fall-themed textures like soft fabric leaves, smooth acorns, and fuzzy pinecones.
Cornmeal Sensory Play :: Pour cornmeal into a shallow container and hide small toys or objects within. We have small woodland animal figures that my daughter loves — like bears, foxes, owls, and deer.
Apple Orchard-Theme Sensory Bin :: Fill a bin with mini plastic apples and cinnamon sticks. I like dried peas or uncooked oatmeal as the base.
Bring nature indoors with a craft session. We like to go outside first thing in the morning when the weather is the coolest and feels most “fall” to us in Texas.
Help your little one gather leaves, twigs, and other natural elements to create collages, mobiles, or even pressed leaf art.
Leaf rubbings :: Collect leaves from your yard or a nearby park EVEN if the leaves are still green. Your leaf rubbings will be colored the traditional fall colors of yellow, orange, red, and brown. It’s a creative way to experience the beauty of autumn from the comfort of your home.
Fingerprint fall leaves :: Using your child’s tiny fingerprints to decorate a painted tree with fall colors. This art is a memorable way to preserve your child’s fingerprint for the season and decorate your home with artwork you will enjoy for years to come. In our home, we add to it each year and call it the family fingerprint tree!
Pumpkin painting :: Set up a painting station with mini pumpkins and non-toxic paint. Watch their creativity come alive as they decorate their very own autumn treasures.
>> RELATED READ :: 13 Nature Crafts to Get You Outside This Fall <<
Let your children explore, create, and enjoy the joys of the season even without stepping outside. With these indoor fall sensory activities, you can create a magical autumn atmosphere even when the Texas weather is still warm.