Simple Pumpkin Sensory Bin for Fall

This super easy pumpkin sensory bin is a great addition to the rest of your preschool pumpkin activities. The different colors, shapes, and textures are sure to keep your students engaged as they play!

This pumpkin sensory play is simple to put together, and you can easily make adjustments based on the materials you already have on-hand. I think it’s perfect during a pumpkin theme or any time during the fall season.

In addition to all of the sensory input, your students can use the pumpkin sensory materials to explore math and science concepts. All of that from one simple sensory bin!

fake pumpkins, fake leaves, acrylic fall table scatter in a bin with text that reads pumpkin sensory bin

Related: Fall Activities for Preschoolers

You can set this up as a big sensory bin for your students to play in together. Or you can make it into individual sensory bins that one or two children can use together. We went the route of making it into a smaller pumpkin sensory experience. But it would work well in a big bin, too!

Pumpkin Sensory Bin

Below you’ll see what we did for the pumpkin bin. But please keep in mind that you can change things up as you see fit. That’s going to depend on your preferences, the items you have on-hand, and your students’ interests.

Materials for the Fall Pumpkin Sensory Play

Here’s what we used for the pumpkin sensory bin (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):

If you wanted to just focus on the pumpkins, you could just not bother with many of the other materials! Maybe even swap out the acrylic acorns for some acrylic pumpkins. Whatever you and your students would prefer.

materials to make an easy pumpkin sensory bin for kids

I highly recommend grabbing materials with different colors, shapes, and textures. Those differences add a special element to the sensory play.

How to Use the Pumpkin Sensory Bin

Now that you have the materials sorted out, it’s time to start building the pumpkin bin. Begin by placing the fake leaves in the bin. Add the other small materials like wooden leaves and acrylic acorns. Then pop those fake pumpkins and gourds in, along with the pinecones. Finally, place any sensory tools you want to include. We didn’t really add any in this go-round but you can choose whatever you prefer.

close up of preschool sensory bin with fake leaves and pumpkins

The pumpkin sensory bin is very much an open-ended activity. That means that the kids can make the choices behind their play (within any of your basic classroom rules, of course). How the kids play with the bin will change with each child, or group of children, who interact with it.

Here are some of the things you might see the kids doing:

  • Pull all of the pumpkins out to explore their colors and textures.
  • Run their hands through the fake leaves.
  • Sort the wooden leaves by color.
  • Try to find all of the acrylic acorns.
  • Count all of the different items in the bin.
  • Pull a handful of leaves out and then drop the leaves to watch them float back into the bin.
  • Run their hands over the pinecones, pumpkins, and leaves.
child's hand holding a pinecone over a pumpkin sensory bin

That’s only a smattering of the different ways children can play in the pumpkin sensory bin. One of my favorite things to do is sit back and watch how kids interact with different sensory invitations. Your students will probably come up with ten new ways to play with the fall sensory bin!

Other Ideas for the Fall Pumpkin Play

As I’ve already said, you can make changes to the pumpkin sensory bin if you want to. In fact, I encourage you to do so, especially if you don’t have all of the same materials at hand already. No need to run out to the craft store, unless you’re looking for a reason to!

pumpkin sensory bin next to a preschool pumpkin book

Here are some different ways you can tweak the fall pumpkin bin:

  • Trade the fake materials out for real items! Depending on the size of the bin you use, a variety of small and medium pumpkins would be wonderful to explore. You can incorporate different shapes, colors, and textures while you’re at it.
  • Add a variety of sensory tools to the mix. While we didn’t use any this time, I’m a big fan. And I find that groups of kids tend to have favorite tools to use in sensory play. So pop in the kids’ favorites.
  • Consider adding water to the bin, after removing any items that aren’t suited to water (like the wooden leaves). A fun fall way to explore sink and float.
  • If you want some different shapes, sizes, and sounds in the bin, why not add some additional items? The tiny “pumpkins” from scented fine motor pumpkin activity would be perfect. Or learn how to dye corn kernels and pop some colorful corn into the bin.
  • Add more pumpkin-themed items to the pumpkin sensory bin. You can add acrylic pumpkins, smaller fake pumpkins, a few real pumpkins, pumpkin mini erasers, pumpkin cut-outs, etc. There are so many possibilities.
  • Pair the sensory play with your favorite pumpkin book. You can see we went with The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, but you can choose another one!

How do you think you and your students will use the fall pumpkin sensory bin? Be sure to save this post for inspiration.

More Pumpkin Activities to Try

If you and the kids are into all things pumpkin this fall, I have a few more suggestions for you:

I think those activities would complement the pumpkin sensory bin very well.

Pumpkin Preschool Lesson Plans

Let Preschool Teacher 101 save you a ton of time with fully-developed, done-for-you early childhood resources. We have hundreds of lesson plans, circle time songs, dramatic play packs, STEM challenges, letter and number activities, and so much more.

Be sure to check The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101, a membership for early childhood educators. Members receive access our materials (and member exclusives) at an even steeper discount. You can grab a free set of lesson plans while you’re there.

Our pumpkin lesson plans would go very well with the fall pumpkin sensory bin. The plans come with a weekly overview, detailed daily plans, whole group lessons, small group activities, center ideas, book suggestions, and related printables. Click on the image below to get yours:

preschool pumpkin lesson plans cover

Here are a few more pumpkin-themed resources ready for your classroom:

roll and cover pumpkin math games cover
Cover of preschool pumpkin dramatic play set.
pumpkin pie fine motor alphabet mat cover
fake pumpkins and leaves with text that reads fall pumpkin sensory bin

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