Autumn is a wonderful time of year for preschoolers and out come new autumn sensory bins. Due to the obvious change in seasons, preschoolers often spend a few weeks studying, observing, discovering, and exploring those changes. What a great way to investigate the change in seasons than by a clever preschool autumn sensory bin, like the one I’m featuring here, which has a new and unique filler.
The new and unique filler this fall sensory bin uses is dried apricot pits. The parks in my city tend to have hundreds and hundreds of maple trees of all sorts and varieties, but oak trees are hard to come by, and thus so are acorns. I know apricots are not really a “fall” fruit, however their pits, I think, make a wonderful filler for a fall sensory bin. Plus, an added bonus, they smell so sweet and good there is no need to add a fragrance. Apricot pits come with their own fragrance.
To prepare the apricot pits, simply wash them thoroughly and pour them in a single layer onto a large baking sheet. Bake at 200º for about four hours. Yes, it will also make your house smell wonderful. In the featured sensory bin are about a gallon-sized zip-top baggie of dried pits. I saved them from one of my summer canning projects.
Now, I must tell you…apricot kernels (the seed on the inside) can be somewhat toxic if ingested, so if you have a little one who is prone to tasting, this is definitely a sensory bin that will need close supervision. The kernel itself actually is touted as a health food, however, it is high in amygdalin, which in high doses can be bad for the body. If the outer pit is completely intact and there is no splitting, if swallowed, it will pass through the digestive system, however, it can cause some tearing along the way. And, like many sensory bins, the filler/base is small enough to be a choking hazard to children who are taste prone. So, as with any other sensory bin you might offer your children, please do not leave them unsupervised for any reason!
Corinne and Kent were both all too excited to dive into the sensory bin and explore the different objects. Being that Kent is only fourteen months, I supervised him closely. Very, very closely. As in, I never took my eyes off him due to the chokable nature of the items in the bin. Corinne, on the other hand, being three years old, was just fine to play.
Kent jabbers quietly to himself as he picks up the apricot pits and places them into a container within the sensory bin.
Corinne uses a magnifying glass to get a closer look at the items. She compares the pine cones in the bin to those she has seen while on walks in our neighborhood. She mentions how “teeny, tiny” the pumpkins are and asks if someday I will buy her real teeny, tiny pumpkins. She also comments on the glitter on the acorns and talks about what would happen in squirrels were to forget where they buried their acorns.
Then Corinne takes the apricot pits out of the bin and lines them up on the floor, counting them as she goes. She reaches twenty-nine and asks what comes next.
One of my favorite things about this preschool fall sensory bin is that all the pieces are big enough that if the kids were to get messy or careless, the contents would be easy to clean up. No colored rice scattered all over my kitchen floor or cloud dough tracked through my house.
Below are some of the items I used to fill this autumn sensory bin, as well as some others we have used for past sensory bins.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.