In The Middle of Fall Sensory & Snack Story Time

With autumn quickly creeping in, the boys and I have been having fun reading fall stories together. I’ve been trying to give #thelittleone some extra sensory input lately, since we’re noticing a lot of issues with things like bath, settling down at bedtime, etc. My husband and I hoped that some more active sensory learning would tire him out as well as help him learn to soothe himself a bit better. When I picked up In The Middle Of Fall during a bookstore run lately, I knew it was the perfect choice to inspire a fall sensory and snack story time. Read on to see what activities I paired with it, and the great new table that makes our sensory & snack story times so successful.

Fall is in the air, making it the perfect time to set up a fall sensory & snack story time for young learners! Check out my fun ideas inspired by Kevin Henkes' "In The Middle Of Fall", as well as the really cool sensory table we've been using lately. Toddlers will love going on an acorn hunt like a hungry squirrel, and decorating an autumn cookie for a special treat! #ad #KevinHenkes #InTheMiddleOfFall #beyondthebook #sensoryplay #storytime #autumnleaves #acornhunt
Simplay 3 generously provided the In & Out Activity Table featured in this post at no charge. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of the links on this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Commissions like this allow me to continue providing free content on the blog and help support my next Target run, so click away my friends!

Reading In the Middle of Fall

In The Middle Of Fall Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Story Time

I hit up the bookstore recently, and In The Middle of Fall called to me from a central display. The high contrast blue and orange cover caught my eye immediately. When I saw it was written by Kevin Henkes (a long time favorite at this house!) I knew it was a done deal. In The Middle of Fall did not disappoint. Henkes’ text is simple and sparse, but filled with beautiful moments like ‘…the apples are like ornaments.’ Laura Dronzek’s illustrations fill the book with bright, painterly illustrations. The images easily evoke the feeling of movement as the leaves fall and the wind blows. It’s easy for children to be drawn into the autumn world within the book. After reading In The Middle of Fall, I knew it was the perfect choice to inspire a fall story time.

In The Middle Of Fall Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Story Time

STORY INSPIRED Fall Sensory & Snack

Fall Sensory

Materials:

  • Fall leaves.
    • Real or artificial leaves work equally well. I grabbed our artificial leaves at our local dollar store because our real leaves are still clinging to the trees right now.
  • Acorns.
    • Again, real or artificial acorns will both work. Our yard is covered in acorns, so we used a mixture of real and artificial ones. The artificial ones are plastic vase fillers I picked up from a craft store.
  • Small bucket(s). (Optional)
    • Bowls or baskets would be fine as well. When your little ones gather acorns like the squirrels do, they may need some place to sort them! Plus ‘fill and spill’ onto the tabletop always makes sensory play extra fun!
  • Sensory bin or table.

In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time
In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time

I drew inspiration for the sensory activity directly from the end papers within In The Middle of Fall. The activity comes together very quickly when the materials are assembled. #thelittleone loves getting into sensory bins, and this one definitely kept him happily occupied for quite a while. Big brother didn’t want to be left out either – as you can see!

In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time

Fill your sensory bin or table with a mixture of fall leaves and acorns. Mix things up a bit so that some of the acorns are buried. Encourage your child to dig through the leaves hunting for acorns like a squirrel does in the fall. You can add some additional learning in by counting acorns as they pull them out, organizing the acorns by size, or sorting them by color. If you’re using plastic colored acorns, talk about which ones are easier to find, and which are more camouflaged. The boys both had a great time on their fall sensory acorn hunt!

In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Sensory Story Time

Fall Snack

I created a special, hands on snack time treat to accompany our fall story time read aloud. Our Simplay 3 In & Out Activity Table was perfect for setting up this project. I was able to store the acorns and leaves right in the bins, and flip the lid to the table over. After quickly wiping it down, it was time to start creating a yummy treat!

In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time

Supplies: 

  • Simple sugar or shortbread cookies.
    • Mine were not homemade, ’cause I know my limits!
  • Food coloring in autumn shades. (Red, yellow, orange, green, etc.)
  • Water.
  • Clean eye droppers/medicine droppers and/or pastry brushes.
  • Small bowls.
  • Plenty of paper towels or a cookie sheet/tray- for messy little ones to work on top of!

   In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time

First I watered the food coloring down quite a bit, so it wouldn’t be too intense. I set some cookies on the tray and helped #thelittleone start decorating. After a little bit of guidance, he was able to work on it fairly independently. Kids can simply drop or paint the dilluted food coloring onto the cookies. The dye will bleed into the other colors creating a multi-colored autumn leaf look. Because there is no right or wrong outcome for the cookies, every child will be successful in decorating their snack! (Just be sure not to let kiddos go overboard with the water. A damp cookie is one thing, and will dry fairly quickly. A soggy cookie that has turned into dyed mush is a whole other story!)

    In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time

IN & OUT ACTIVITY TABLE

I promised earlier to fill you guys in on the great table we used during this fall sensory story time. We’ve been breaking in our new Simplay 3 In & Out Activity Table for the past few weeks, and so far we LOVE it! We don’t have a large home, so I really needed to find a solution for sensory bins that would work in tight spaces. I also wanted to put a small table in the kitchen for #thelittleone to stand and work at while I was cooking. The In & Out Activity Table is the perfect solution since it does double duty as a sensory table and regular table.

In The Middle Of Fall Snack Story Time

The table is lightweight, making it easy to reconfigure. I can fill the bins with whatever sensory fun we’re getting into each week, and store the filled bins right under the table top. That keeps #thelittleone from getting into things he shouldn’t be, while making it easy to pull the activities out again when it’s convenient.  It’s also super convenient to move in and out of the house – we love to get outside and take advantage of good weather as often as we can! We can switch from sensory to snack in no time, with just a little bit of rearranging the tables, and wiping the top down quickly. The Simplay 3 In & Out Activity Table could not be more convenient for our sensory play needs!

Fall is in the air, making it the perfect time to set up a fall sensory & snack story time for young learners! Check out my fun ideas inspired by Kevin Henkes' "In The Middle Of Fall", as well as the really cool sensory table we've been using lately. Toddlers will love going on an acorn hunt like a hungry squirrel, and decorating an autumn cookie for a special treat! #ad #KevinHenkes #InTheMiddleOfFall #beyondthebook #sensoryplay #storytime #autumnleaves #acornhunt

What are your favorite ideas to fill fall sensory bins? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Essentials You May Need…

 

29 Comments

  • arynnhinton

    Looks like you guys had so much fun! My preschooler loves acorns, so we are going to have to try something like this!

    • Kate

      Be sure to let me know how it goes if you guys give it a try!

  • Patricia G.

    These are creative, cool ideas for kids! I am sure they love this idea! 🙂

    • Kate

      Thanks so much Patricia!

  • Angela Amores

    This looks like such a fun activity. That activity table is awesome. I think my kiddos need that for Christmas for sure.
    Angela

    • Kate

      It’s seriously the most convenient table I’ve seen! We love how easy it is to move and reconfigure. It’s even going to be perfect for outside water play in the summer.

  • Tani

    Look at the colour of those leaves! Love the sensory table idea – good you can change it with the seasons.

    • Kate

      Full disclosure, those leaves are artificial! The weather’s been so crazy and warm here lately that are leaves still haven’t really started turning yet!

  • lifeisbeautifulx

    What a lovely idea! Wil have to try this..

    • Kate

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy!

  • Chei Pangan

    Wow! What a great fall story time. How i wish there was a fall season too here in Philippines/

    • Kate

      Sorry you guys don’t have the fall season… It could be fun to pretend with artificial fall leaves though!

  • Morgan Tone

    Wonderful ideas! We are learning all about fall here this week, too. I am really loving the snack. 🙂

    • Kate

      Thanks Morgan! My little one loved the snack too- he keeps asking to color cookies again, haha.

  • thelittlestfunk

    This looks so fun! My girls would love this!

    • Kate

      Thanks! My boys had a ton of fun with it.

  • Sarah Camille

    These are great ideas for kids! I hadn’t thought about sensory bins but I can see how much fun they can be to make them themed. Great ideas!

    • Kate

      Pairing them with holidays, seasons, or favorite books definitely keeps them fresh and fun. Thanks so much Sarah Camille!

  • Ashley Solberg

    That table would be so fabulous for my littles! Well the snacks and sensory bins too!

    • Kate

      I’ve seen several tables, but this one is definitely my favorite. Thanks for checking it out, Ashley!

    • Kate

      Thank you, my boys had a ton of fun with it!

  • Elizabeth O

    My kids read Henkes books when they were little so your post brought back good memories. I love the sensory activity table as it makes a huge difference in creating and completing activities like this.

    • Kate

      I love how much nostalgia books can evoke. Thanks so much Elizabeth!

  • Aseky Bonnaire

    I love this! I’m definitely going to pin this, so I can do it with my boys!

    • Kate

      Thank you Aseky- I hope you guys have fun with it!

  • Bethel

    Thsi activity develops the kids in wholistic way. A mom should try this if they want their kids to grow up smart and kind 🙂

    • Kate

      Thanks so much for the kind words about these activities!

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