Lively closeup of falling autumn leaves with vibrant backlight from the setting sun

by Danielle Carter, MS OTR/L

Our weather is started shifting to cooler temperatures here in Minnesota and kids have been back at school for a while. While Fall brings lots of cozy feelings, it can also mean less time outside and more time sitting at school. There are many ways to work sensory play into our fall routines and help our kids organize this season.

Some families like to visit corn mazes, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches and there are so many sensory activities within this fun family outing. Many of these activities can also be done at home.

· The corn pit provides both deep pressure and tactile input. Take turns burying body parts in the corn.

· Have your child pick out the pumpkin and either carry it themselves or pull a wagon with the pumpkin in it. Both provide heavy work!

· Let your child pick and carry their own bag of apples.

· Make a jack-o-lantern and have your child scoop out the insides with their hands.

· Have your child pick out the pumpkin seeds. Then roast them for a crunchy and alerting snack

· Jump off the hay bales for deep pressure to muscles and joints

· Cut an apple in half, dip it in paint, and use it as a stamper on paper to make cool apple prints. You can make your own paint using yogurt or cool whip and mixing it with dry Jello powder for bright colors and bold scents.

· Challenge your child to find brightly colored leaves and use these for art activities. Use white glue for the squeezing (heavy work) and stickiness (tactile).

· Rake leaves and jump in them for the proprioception and sight, sound, and touch inputs.

· Find a hill and roll down (proprioception and vestibular).

· Store bins of corn, leaves, rocks, and other fall nature things in your house. Pull out sensory bins and give choices on days that are too cold or dark to head outside. Under the bed bins are also nice so your child can sit inside it for that full body input.

Your Kidspeak therapists want to know what you are doing to keep your sensory systems organized this fall!