Fall Forest Sensory Box

fall forest sensory box

Last week was our “Leaves” themed activities.  With everyone not feeling well, we didn’t get to all of the activities, but it was definitely nice having pre-planned activities to grab when needed. We did squeeze in a nature hike in the woods, including lumbering over a creek and getting lost by ill-marked paths, so I’m going to categorize this theme as a win!

Sensory Box

forest sensory box leaves fall autumn animal toddler

forest sensory box leaves fall autumn animal toddler

forest sensory box leaves fall autumn animal toddler


  • coffee grounds (dirt)–good for hiding acorns for the squirrels
  • acorns (from our nature hike)
  • faux leaves and  berries (from a garland I’ve had for years–just pulled them off)
  • pinecones
  • pine branches
  • sticks and rocks
  • Schleich woodland animals (part of his birthday present and party decor!)

Total Cost: $0 (Are you getting the idea that if you stock up on a few key items, you can make so many boxes?!)

His absolute favorite was trying to balance all the animals on the stick.  I feel like this was a super-mom creative moment. Just saying.  And of course he loves any box that includes coffee.  I think I could give him a box of coffee and he’d be a happy camper.  The smells, textures, and colors of this box were perfect to welcome Fall, and there were plenty of activities we could do (color sorts with the leaves, feeding the animals various nuts and seeds, etc.).

Fall Forest Animal Match

To go along with the sensory box, I made a little animal match activity since he loves his Farm Animal Cards so much.  This was a hit, too. He was hilarious with this…he took it so seriously. And he insisted on running to one side of the box to get the animals, then run back around to put them down on the paper.  His peeking over to check his work cracks me up.  You can download the Fall Forest Animal Match and the Farm Animal Cards here, btw!

forest sensory box leaves fall autumn animal toddler activity match

Raking (or Sweeping) Leaves Activity

I had every intention of doing this outside with real leaves, but the weather has been a bit uncooperative.  No worries, inside worked just as well (if not better).  To play, use masking tape to create a square on the floor. Scatter leaves (real, faux, or even paper) around the square.  Show your kiddo how to sweep them all into the center.  Great for fine and gross motor skills.  Of course, don’t forget to jump in the pile after they’re all swept up!

NOTE: He was totally into jumping in them, but not too much into the sweeping. He kept saying, “Mommy do it. Mommy sweeps.”  I think he was confused as to why I made a mess then asked him to clean it up…ha!  How’s it feel, kid?!

raking leaves fall toddler activity

fall toddler activity raking leaves

Fall Tree Painting

Let me just say that this activity was done before 7:15am one morning.  Yep…we’ve had our first bout of cold/flu (myself included), so it’s been a bit rough around here.  We were most definitely ready for a structured activity in the wee hours one day.  This was perfect.  Yes it’s paint so there’s a potential for messiness, but aside from that, it’s really simple AND enjoyable.

We used  pom poms clipped into clothespins (corresponding color for corresponding paint color), but you could also use cotton balls, wine corks, q-tips, fingerprints, or avoid paint altogether and glue down cut out leaves.  I find the absolute best paint tool is a used egg carton-just squirt some paint into each little cup and it keeps it  contained with zero clean-up!

fall toddler activity tree painting leaves

fall toddler activity tree painting leaves

toddler leaf print activity


We spent lots of time on the couch reading books, or should I say “croaking” through books (no voice!).  Here’s a few of our favorites.

 It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.


 Robbie Raccoon loves his home in Old Father Oak, where he plays all summer long with his squirrel and blackbird friends. In the fall, Robbie wonders if Father Oak is sad to lose all of his leaves. Is the tree crying? Robbie’s mother reassures him that the tree is just signaling the approach of winter—the “cold, dark, sleepy time, when all the leaves and flowers hide and sleep.” As Robbie and his mom eat and eat and prepare for their winter nap, they plant five of Father Oak’s acorns snugly in the ground. When they wake up in the spring, the five baby oaks have begun to grow.

 It is autumn and Mouse, accompanied by Minka, a larger rodent wearing a pink jacket, go out to play. As they enjoy the day, Mouse learns about leaves, their colors and shapes, and the fun that comes from piling them up and jumping in them. When Minka hides in the heap, Mouse is confused, but readers will quickly see her tail curling above the fallen foliage. Bright hues evoke the season and realistically show the leaves in all their variety.

What’s on your must-do Fall activity list?


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