Fall is here! When the air starts to feel cool and crisp and the streets become filled with colorful leaves, many people take advantage of this beautiful season by participating in Autumn-themed activities such as pumpkin-carving and apple-picking. This time of the year is filled with plenty of outdoor festivals, pumpkin farms, apple orchards, and other seasonally based activities that can sensory-rich provide fun for the whole family. Here are some suggestions for fall activities that you can complete at home to address a variety of sensory-based skills while providing a fun and engaging way to celebrate this season.
Heavy Work Activities:
- Go pumpkin picking and have your child pull the cart or find the largest pumpkin to carry
- Rake the leaves into a big pile to jump in
- Draw large pictures on the sidewalk using chalk
- Build an outdoor obstacle course
- Build an indoor or outdoor fort using pillows, blankets, and furniture
- Cooking activities: Make homemade applesauce, roll out the dough to make a pie, or use cookie cutters to make Fall cookies
- Carve a pumpkin and use hands (with gloves if needed) and spoons to remove the inside parts and seeds
- Make Pumpkin Goo or Ghost Goo
- Go “bobbing” for apples using hands or large ladles
- Create arts and crafts projects including leaf painting and apple prints
- Visit a farm, go on a hay-ride, and take a trip to the petting zoo
- Make “guess bags” with various fall-themed items inside. Allow the child to use only her hands to identify the items (great tactile discrimination activity)
- Cooking activities: Get messy by making mini caramel apples or pumpkin rice crispy treats. Be a helper in the kitchen stirring batter, using a whisk or a rolling pin.
Visual Perceptual Games:
- Take a hike! Go on a nature walk scavenger hunt around town and search for fall items (i.e. various colored leaves, acorns, pine cones, decorate Jack-o-Lanterns, favorite Halloween decorations, etc).
- Decorate the front door and the house for Halloween and Thanksgiving
- Visit a Farmer’s Market and search for interesting looking fruits/vegetables
- Complete a balloon toss using a cone-shaped cup. Decorate the balloon and turn him into a pumpkin!
- Visit a corn maze and use a map to find your way out
Visual and Fine Motor Activities:
- Decorate a pumpkin using stickers, paint, markers, etc.
- Collect pinecones and acorns to decorate with paint, stickers, markers, beads, etc.
- Decorate a window with window markers or paint, draw seasonal themed pictures.
- Visit a pond and bring some bread to tear and feed the ducks
- Collect old clothing, stuffing material, and other items to build a scarecrow.
Oral Motor and Respiratory Activities:
- Have a taste-test: get the craziest gourds and root vegetables you can find. Have a mini-food taste test and see if your kids like rutabega, spaghetti squash or turnips the best.
- Straw sucking races: Use a straw to pick up various lightweight fall items such as leaves and large pumpkin seeds and transfer into a basket. See who can get the most items in their basket first!
- Leaf blowing game: Create a pathway or maze on the floor. Have your child lie on her belly and use deep breaths to blow a leaf to the finish line. Turn it into a race and see who can get their leaf across the finish line first!
- Pretend to be a ghost and make the "Oooooo" sound, see who can make it the longest with one breath
Sensory Friendly Businesses
- Planting Fields Arboretum Sensory Garden
- Sensory Friendly Roller Skating
- Hicks Nursery Fall Events
- Not-So Spooky Walks
Siobhan Stellato, MS OTR/L