Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers

E. loved sensory tubs when he was little so I’ve been waiting for Little Miss to stop putting everything in her mouth so we can start making them for her. (If you missed it here’s a round up of the ones I made for E. when he was three)


Bamm Boo - How and Why to Set up an Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers

With such a big age gap (there are 6 1/2 years between them) I’m often looking for things they can do together and this was perfect. We went for a lovely walk during half term and collected a big pile of leaves, pinecones and acorns etc. E. loved doing this and really hunted for the best leaves and so on.  We put it in a big tub – I find large under bed storage boxes the best for sensory tubs – we started with a smaller one and it really didn’t work as well.

Bamm Boo - How and Why to Set up an Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers


  • Leaves
  • Acorns
  • Pinecones
  • Conkers (we could only find a few – I think we missed the best time for these!)
  • Silicone muffin tin (this doesn’t match the colour scheme which made me a bit sad (!!) but really helped give her something to do
  • Cardboard tube (I don’t let my kids play with toilet roll tubes because I have a 7 year old boy in the house – but in most households I’m sure these would be fine!)
  • Berries – I quickly took these out because she was squashing them between her fingers which is great for motor development but I wasn’t sure if they were poisonous!)


Bamm Boo - How and Why to Set up an Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers

How I use sensory boxes

If you’ve been doing these for a while you can skip this but but hopefully it’ll be useful for some of you!

  •  No matter what the theme,  sorting trays; spoons; tubes etc are really useful. As they get older and can do more imaginary play, little animals and people and so on are really good too.
  • I (vaguely) clear the floor/ playing area first and I don’t leave them out for general play.
  • At first I sit and model or narrate what they are doing. This is great for language development. “The acorn is in the tube”, “There’s another pinecone etc” If I’m modelling I just do stuff with the contents myself and sometimes they copy and sometimes they don’t.

Bamm Boo - How and Why to Set up an Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers

  • Once they’ve got the hang of it I tend to leave them to play more independently – but monitor more closely than I might do with normal toys
  • I don’t let them just dump the whole thing on the floor – if they start tipping it out we put them back in. Little Miss can manage this at 16 months even though she regularly tips the entire contents of her toy box out!
  • When they are finished or getting bored of it we pack it up and put it away.

Bamm Boo - How and Why to Set up an Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers


  • She absolutely loves it! ‘Box’ has quickly become a new word  and whenever she sees it she yells for it.
  • Motor skills – grabbing, putting things in tubes and the muffin tray are all good for her hand eye coordination.
  • Language skills, she’s learning ‘in’ and ‘on’ as well as the words for the contents of the box.
  • Sorting and separating. These are early maths skills she’s developing – if she was older I’d maybe model some pattern making or basic addition and subtraction as well.
  • Understanding of the world – she definitely seems even more interested in the leaves falling from the trees. It’s also given rise to conversations with her big brother about the changing of the seasons.
  • Social – as a ‘new toy’ everyone has sat and played with her and talked to her about it.
  • I’m sure there are lots more that I’ll think of as soon as I hit publish.


This was really easy to set up and apart from the box itself (our previous one is being used to actually store things!!) it was completely free.

For more information


Have you tried sensory tubs with your little ones? I’m always looking for new ideas.


Two Tiny Hands
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18 Responses to Autumn Sensory Bin For Toddlers

  1. Josefine says:

    What a great idea! I love autumn and I’m definitely going to try some Autumnal sensory play in the future when my boy is old enough to not try and just eat everything! xx

    • Beth at Bamm Boo says:

      I love autumn too – it seems to have been particularly nice this year, probably because it’s been mainly dry!

      Thanks for reading xx

  2. Love love love this! I love a sensory box! We haven’t done an autumn one yet as mine seem to be growing out of them (sobs). Now I am tempted to try. I think your green muffin trays goes perfectly with the colour scheme – it matches the green leaves! #FamilyFun

    • Beth at Bamm Boo says:

      Aw sad – have another one you can do it all over again 😉

      The green kind of goes but it’s a bit too bright for my liking! If I wasn’t a tight northerner at heart I’d buy a massive set of sorting trays in a variety of colours!!

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Helena says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful. Thanks for sharing it on #FamilyFun

  4. Topfivemum says:

    I’ve not tried sensory boxes yet (the shame! My daughter’s now two so I know she’ll love it). I love the idea of basing it on the season. Can’t wait to try this – off to Homebase tomorrow to pick up a box. I know she’ll love foraging in the park on Sunday! #messandplay

    • Beth at Bamm Boo says:

      Lol I don’t think I’d really heard of them until my older one was 3 so you’re still winning! I hope she enjoys it, thanks for reading 🙂

  5. This was really interesting to find out how you play with yours. Also good to find that our littles are the same age and I find this is great to actually benchmark against! lol! All kids are different though aren’t they! I must go and collect some Autumny things from outside before they disappear with the weather! Thank you ever so much for linking up to #MessandPlay
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…Firework / Bonfire Night Tuff SpotMy Profile

    • Beth at Bamm Boo says:

      Thanks – I’m never sure how much ‘advice’ to write but I know I found it useful when I first started making them so I figured someone else might 🙂

      They absolutely are different – the main thing I’ve learnt from being a second time mum is I know a lot less about parenting than I thought I did! Thanks for hosting.

  6. Calling back to say thanks for linking up to #familyfun too!
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…Firework / Bonfire Night Tuff SpotMy Profile

  7. Tammymum says:

    Oh how is a fab idea. Although I don’t blame you about the berries you. Could have have had interesting colour walls after. This is a fab sensory activity but also such a good way to introduce autumn and the change of season. Thank you for sharing at #familyfun

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