Thanksgiving Sensory Play

thanksgiving sensory play

I love sensory bins and one of the reasons is illustrated beautifully in this post. They aren’t just a chance to scoop and pour ( although don’t discount the importance of that) they are also a chance to make believe, create a new mini landscape and practice imaginative play. Children love to explore so when you create a sensory bin allow them to add to it as well, it’s not a static item but rather a dynamic experience for them to create with.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a big pan or plastic tub, some multicolored unpopped popcorn , red quinoa, and brown rice. You will also need some fall leaf confetti, and scoops. Obviously you don’t need to follow our contents exactly but I do love the corn since it ties into other Thanksgiving crafts so well. Orange lentils, wild rice, flax seeds etc… all have a fall feeling to them too.
  2. Pour the dried grains etc.. into the tub. Have your child help with this , my son loves ” cooking up” the sensory bins.
  3. Add the fall confetti. Be careful some of ours were pretty small, fabric leaves are another larger option for younger children.
  4. Add the scoops and containers and start playing.
  5. Follow your child’s imagination, we went and got some construction vehicles.

I get asked all the time what I do with these tubs after he’s done playing. I pop them into ziplocs and keep them , and pull them out for quiet play time often.  The variety keeps him interested and as long as the bags are sealed from moisture and insects you can keep them indefinitely.

Thanksgiving Books

The Little Engine That Could Saves the Thanksgiving Day Parade by Watty Piper is unremarkable. The story is about a school band who has a flat tire and hitches a ride on the train to get to the Thanksgiving Day parade on time.  My son liked the instruments and the train but the story was pretty boring and it was obvious to me why this was one of the only Thanksgiving books left at my local library. If you have a child who is wild about trains I would maybe check it out of the library but it’s not worth purchasing in my opinion.

Thanksgiving at the Tappleton’s by Eileen Spinelli is a really cute story that offers many opportunities for parents to talk about lying, disappointment and what really matters at Thanksgiving. The Tappleton’s Thanksgiving dinner is doomed, first the turkey falls in the pond, then there are no pies left at the bakery and then continues to get worse.  No one wants to be the person to ruin the holiday dinner and keeps it a secret that the part of the meal that was their responsibility is ruined.  Of course this means they end up eating liverwurst and pickles for dinner but Grandma saves Thanksgiving by reminding them all that it doesn’t matter what they are eating but who they are eating with.

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween when they gather the seeds for the next planting.  I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story . I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations . All in all I think this is a great fall book!

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  1. says

    I used to have rice bins for my kids all the time and would add different themed toys into them but I never thought to change up the rice with other grains, etc. I love this idea and I’m going to go add this to our current unit study ASAP! Thank you so much for this post, and I love the pictures. I’m so glad I fell upon your blog!

  2. says

    I’m putting mine together today as well. I love your incorporation of red quinoa and brown rice. Just perfect for “harvest.” We haven’t read ANY Thanksgiving books yet, but the ones you mentioned sound just great. Time for a trip to my local bookstore!

  3. Sharon says

    I’ve been reading your blog for at least a year and sent links to sensory tub posts to friends many times. “What a great idea! Your kid will love this!” Today I finally bought beans and did one for my daughter and I will admit that I don’t have the patience to keep hearing beans hit the floor. She enjoyed it, but this is going to have to be an outdoors-only activity for us from now on. I was so excited to help her set it up, but then it took A LOT from me to let her keep going. Oh, so messy!

    • Lin says

      I let the 5 yr old sit at the table, but the 18mo. old I definitely sit on the floor with his sensory tubs. And being that it’s now almost winter, we bring the snow INSIDE in tubs to play with. That way we get to enjoy more of God’s creation and not be so cold! If you don’t like cleanup, put them on the floor with a blanket or shower curtain, just like you would do to play legos.


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