Touching the inside of a pumpkin is one of the ultimate tactile experiences. Cut the top off a pumpkin and let your children put their hands inside. Ask them to separate the seeds to bake for a snack (only if they are able to chew hard textures). If touching the inside of the pumpkin is over-stimulating, use a spoon to scoop it out. Perhaps they might be ready to try touching the inside of the pumpkin after they have used a spoon first.
Go on a nature walk and try to collect as many different coloured objects as possible. Ask your child to find something Red, Yellow, Orange, Gray, Black, White, Brown, and Green. Take in the interested sights, smells, and feels of Autumn while also getting some exercise.
- If your child tends to put items in his/her mouth, take the objects you have collected and put them in clear plastic containers or clean empty plastic bottles with a tight/glued on lid. This way objects can be visually explored and shaken without the risk of choking
- Put the objects you have collected into a bag. Ask your child to reach inside the bag and try to find the leaf, rock, chestnut, or pine cone without looking. Keep trying until they find the requested object then say a loud “Hooray!” when they do.
- Explore what you have found with a magnifying glass and tweezers. Turn leaves into an art project with paper and glue.
Gather Autumn leaves into piles and let your child run and jump through them for loads of proprioceptive, vestibular, tactile input, muscle strengthening, and of course fun! Also, if you child is non-ambulatory – Place a pile of leaves on your child’s wheelchair tray to touch and smell, or push back onto the ground.
Put on some rain boots and have fun stomping in puddles with your child. Bring out waterproof toys and model imaginative play as you both splash about with toy cars, animals, boats, or dolls. If your child is in a wheelchair, use a large, shallow container with some water to play with the toys.
Continue water play inside with a bath to warm up. Help your child to wash with a sponge to increase tactile sensations on their skin. Providing deep pressure on arms, legs, and back with a sponge is often calming for children with sensory processing challenges. Notice your child’s vocalizations, facial expressions, and body language to see if they find deep pressure (which combines tactile and proprioceptive sensory input) calming.
Do you have any other fun Autumn activities you like to do before the snow season hits? Let us know in the comments below!