Autumn is my favorite time of year because the weather is the perfect temperature and the fall colors are beautiful. I hope to share my love of fall with Little Bee (my son) and that is why I put this post together. Within this post you will find several fun Montessori inspired autumn sensory play ideas for a toddler or preschool aged child to explore.
Autumn Sensory Treasure Bowl
Every fall I put together an Autumn treasure bowl for Little Bee to enjoy. Please visit, Autumn Sensory Play, to see the treasure bowl from last year. This bowl contains popcorn kernels and red beans as a filler. (Please note that many of the items in this bowl are a choking hazard. Never leave your child alone with these materials and always watch them closely. Please use your own parental discretion.) The other materials in the bowl are leaves, pinecones, acorns, bark, sticks, and fir tree needles. Little Bee loves to run his fingers through the bowl and explore the textures of the natural materials.Little Bee mostly used his hands to explore the treasure bowl, however, he also enjoyed using a strawberry huller to pick up the acrons. This is wonderful fine motor work for the muscles of the hand. He also discovered that the caps on the acorns came off and could be filled with popcorn kernels and red beans. Then he discovered that the little caps floated beautifully on top of the water like small boats. Little Bee loved this discovery!
Autumn Sink or Float
I set up a tray of the natural materials and a bowl of water. As Little Bee took each item and placed it into the water, I asked him if he thought that item would sink or float. Most of the time he answered correctly and a few times he learned that the item did the opposite of what he thought. The popcorn kernels and red beans sunk right to the bottom. The leaves mostly floated on top of the water, unless they filled with water, and then they would sink. The pinecones, acorns, sticks, and bark all floated.
Practical Life Pouring Work
I placed the left-over popcorn kernels from the Autumn treasure bowl into a small pitcher for pouring work. I set the two pitchers (one empty, one with kernels) on a small tray. I demonstrated to Little Bee how to pour the kernels from one pitcher to the next. If you would enjoy step-by-step instructions on this Montessori work, please visit – Practical Life Pouring Rice. Little Bee enjoyed practicing this pouring work over and over again.
Sandpaper Numbers and Counting Popcorn Kernels
Another fabulous way to utilize the popcorn kernels is with counting work using the sandpaper numbers and counting mats. Little Bee matched the sandpaper numbers to the number on the counting mat. Then he placed a corn kernel on each black dot. As he placed the corn kernel on the dot, we counted together.
Counting Mats and Transfer Work
These beautiful counting mats were perfect for practicing our number counting and also for a fun transfer work. I had a few items that matched the items pictured on the mats – pumpkins and acorns. Please note that you don’t have to have these exact items to use these counting mats. Any small item can be used to fill in the white dots – play dough balls, beans, corn kernels, buttons, and more. Little Bee used his hands and also various sized tongs to transfer the items to the counting mats.
Gourd Matching and Transfer Work
Our last activity for this Autumn unit is colorful gourd matching and transfer work. I showed Little Bee how to match the various colored gourds together with my hands. He decided that matching the gourds with his hands was too boring (or easy.) So instead, he decided to place the gourd between his toes and transfer them with his feet. He’s a spunky little boy!
You may also enjoy visiting our other Autumn activities ~