Fall Sensory Activities

Shelby Hagedorn, COTA/L
Photos: Jami Eilers, OTR/L
It’s that time of year where the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and the days are starting to get shorter. However, it is also the time of year where there are tons of fun activities you can do as a family from playing in the leaves to carving pumpkins. AND it brings added benefits to a child’s development especially their sensory processing. Sensory activities are important because it is how a child can learn about the world. For example, the smell of dried leaves on the grass, the gooey texture from the inside of a pumpkin, the taste and crunch of apples, and oh so much more. Here are some fun sensory activities you can do as a family.


Fall Scented Playdoh

Apple Spice Scent

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Red Food Coloring (optional)
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Cloves
  • 1 tsp Allspice
(instead of all the spices you could use 1 ½ tsp of apple pie spice)
1. Measure all ingredients and cook over medium heat until mixture forms a ball
2. Turn the dough ball out on the table or counter and knead until very smooth
3. Store in a sealed freezer bag

Pumpkin Spice

  • 1 Cup of canned pumpkin pie filling
  • ½ Cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of cloves
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp of ginger (instead of all the spices you can use 3 ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice)
  • Orange food coloring (optional)
  • 2 ¼ Cups of Flour
  • ½ Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp of Cream of Tartar
1. Add pumpkin pie filling, water, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, food coloring (optional) into a large pot and stir until bubbling
2. Remove from heat and add flour, salt and cream of tartar
3. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
4. Knead dough until soft and fully cooled
5. Store in an airtight bag or container in fridge

Apple Pie Sensory Bin

In a large bin combine the following items:
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Miniature apples (fake)
  • Apple pie seasoning

Pumpkin Gut Slime

  • Small baking pumpkin
  • ¼ Cup liquid starch
  • ½ Cup Clear PVA washable school glue
  • ½ Cup Water
1. Cut the top off the pumpkin
2. Loosen up the seeds and guts,
3. In separate bowl Mix ½ cup room temp water with ½ cup of washable school glue
4. Pour ¼ of liquid starch into the pumpkin
5. Add the glue and water mixture into the pumpkin
6. Mix together and don’t be afraid to use your hands to knead it

Golf Tees into Pumpkin

  • Use a hammer and pound golf tees into the pumpkin

Dry Crunchy Leaves Sensory Bin

  • Pick out some fall colored leaves from your yard and put in a bin and you can add clothespins, hole puncher, and string. Get creative and have fun!
  • You can punch holes into the leaves, make necklaces by stringing them, etc.

Apple Spice Playdoh
Pumpkin Spice Playdoh
Pumpkin Gut Slime