One of our favorite things to do in the fall is to go to the Harvest Festival at a farm down the road. Last year we took our apples and pressed them into cider, the kids jumped off bales of hay and my son even rode a horse. He has been looking forward to this for a few weeks and when I asked him what sort of sensory tub we should make for his sister he suggested a fall farm sensory tub. So we went to the store to choose what to put in the tub. We looked at all the items and decided on a wild rice and lentil mix and popcorn.
If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen this update. It was the trip to gather these items that nearly drove me to drink at 2 pm. In the end, the massive spill at the store was well worth it because the farm sensory tub was a hit. Do not miss the tips in the tutorial about what toddlers can gain from sensory bins.
- Gather your materials. We used dried wild rice, unpopped popcorn, dried lentils and fake apples and fake acorns. Sometimes I have the sensory tubs ready to go all pretty and presented and sometimes I have the kids help. The day we made this someone refused to nap so she helped with every step. First, we gathered all the animals that belong on a farm from our playroom. This is a great basic sorting lesson for kids too.
- Next, we poured our filling in. After putting the popcorn into our farm sensory tub, we took time to draw letters in the popcorn. My daughter loved it. A fun sensory based letter activity.
- Add the wild rice, lentils, animals, vehicles, and farmers ( you may recognize a few characters ).
- Play! At first, her play consisted of putting animals on the tractor and laughing saying ” Dat animal no drive!” and then replacing it with a figurine of a person. Apparently, this is seriously funny to a two-year-old. I was cracking up at her which was nice after our major shopping meltdown.
- Fine motor skills were next. These little applesauce cups were perfect for filling and spilling and she filled them one tiny grain at a time.
- She counted apples and only tried to eat one. Of all these activities within the activity, only one – writing in the popcorn – was initiated by me. That’s the awesomeness of sensory tubs!
- When the filling from the farm sensory tub started scattering on the porch on purpose, I gave her one warning that if she threw it down on purpose that I’d pack it all up. Spills from regular play are not disciplined. Still, two minutes later she was done and the farm sensory tub looked like this.I keep the filling in the plastic bags and them inside Ziplocs (usually double them up to avoid bugs) and the toys in a bag so we can pull it out again in a flash. We normally play with one these for a few weeks. Repetition is a great thing for kids. It’s not boring so don’t feel like you need a bright shiny new thing every day.
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her. The story is simple. Readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s calm, soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons. A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.
Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka is such a fun fall book for kids. Every page is filled with funny mix-ups like Showing pictures of Bears gathering nuts and geese hibernating. My son loved the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner of all candy! I read this to both my kids and while my 2-year-old liked the pictures and laughed along with her 5-year-old brother really she was just giggling because he was. My son, however, thought it was hilarious and corrected each picture as we read. The illustrations by Chad Cameron are stunning as well and a perfect accompaniment to the silly text. If this book doesn’t make you crave a pumpkin spice latte I don’t know what will. Very cute book!
The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson was as good as I expected it to be and I am a fan of the author. The story has just the right amount of rhyme, rhythm, and absurdity that makes for a great picture book. Readers follow along as the farmer feeds all the animals their traditional foods except the cow, the cow loves cookies. The text is paced so well that you can’t help but read it in a sing-song and the repetition lends itself to listener participation. Even on the first read, your kids will be adding in ” But the cow loves cookies!”. While having fun kids will learn about farm responsibilities, what animals eat and maybe a thing or two about milk and cookies too. The illustrations by Marcellus Hall express so much emotion and have a funky vintage feel that makes the whole book a pleasure to read.
Marilyn T says
I love your Fall sensory tub, and your great photos! Where do you buy the filler supplies in bulk? Thank you!
I buy them at the local grocery store. You can also buy them in boxes at big stores like Walmart and Safeway.
Tiffanie W. says
This is a great idea! I could imagine the fun the children would have! Endless possibilities!
Love the idea of laying the plastic under all the stuff and you can reuse it that way. So smart!
Angell @ Passionate and Creative Homemaking says
What a cool idea! I have been trying a few sensory bins with my youngest (just turned 3) and he won’t stop throwing it on the floor! LOL
Next school year I’m thinking of putting him in preschool. But this year I’m going to do my own preschool with him using a lot (if not all) of your stuff on here. Can’t wait!
Have fun with him this year and let me know if I can help!
JDaniel4's Mom says
We loved the Red Barn when JDaniel was little.
Were did you buy the container?
It’s a Step2 Sand and Water table : Step2 Naturally Playful Sand & Water Center
Thank you! We can’t wait to get started!
This idea is so cute. My kids love sensory tables. I like the idea to pack it up if they dump it on purpose. My kids will eventually start dumping whatever material we are playing with. I’m going to try this.
daycare diva says
I love this! The colors are so pretty and festive. We have 2 farm sets that never get used for more than five minutes – thanks for the fantastic idea.
You could also use feed corn from a farm store if you have one nearby. Cheaper than popcorn. I have been planning on making something similar; I was glad to come across your post to help me flesh out my idea.
Hello! This page I found so useful and especially the recommendations for books! Thanks!
Leslie Gardiner says
Hi! My grandson loves the sensory tub I made for him; I use beans in a heavy small to medium size cardboard box with a lid. I have wondered about whether it is safe( from a health stand point ), to just leave the dry beans in the box. I think you have suggested here to store the beans separately in plastic bags between play sessions? Thank you, Leslie G.
Allison McDonald says
So glad he likes it!