Autumn Tuff Tray Ideas and Sensory Play Activities for Fall

Autumn or Fall? Whatever you call it, it’s a beautifully colorful time of year. I love sharing the seasons with my kids and offering activities related to the season we’re in. If you’re looking for some fun sensory play activities to do with your toddlers and preschoolers this year, or some Autumn Tuff Tray ideas, then you’re in the right place for a spot of inspiration!

Pins text reads Fall Preschool Activities. The image is of a fall sensory bin with fall leaves, pinecones, acorns, mini pumpkins, bowls, and spoons.
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I hope this list of Easy Sensory Activities for Fall inspires you to create exciting Fall Sensory Bins and Autumn Tuff Tray’s for your Toddlers and Preschoolers this Autumn.

Some of these activities use a Tuff Tray. I absolutely love our Tuff Tray from Amazon UK. It is just so perfect for these kinds of sensory activities.

If you’re on the fence about getting one check out, Is it Worth Getting a Tuff Tray? A Mom’s Honest Tuff Tray Review. It has honestly been one of the best things I’ve bought for my kid’s learning.

Alternatively, If you are Unable to Buy a Tuff Tray where you live, a large tray with strong edges, like this one from Amazon, would also work well for all these activities.

This is one of my favourite Autumn tuff tray ideas. It's a set up with an Autumn farming sensory play activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
This Autumn Farming Tuff Tray was popular with both my Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Autumn Farming Activities Tuff Tray

Looking for fun Autumn farming activities for your toddlers or preschoolers? This one is a winner!

Small world play is so good for our little people.

Not only does it fire up their imaginations and help with problem-solving skills, but it helps them learn about the world around them. In this case, they are learning about Autumn farming activities and what happens on the farm at this time of year.

Small World play is also great for developing fine motor skills and social skills, as they take turns with the other children around the Tuff Tray.

This Autumn Farming Tuff Tray was fairly easy and quick to set up.

I used a mixture of cereals that I had in the cupboard to provide different colors and textures for the different fields of crops. Cocoa pops made great soil and then I added in some carrot tops to be harvested.

I think I’ll use some dried lentils to add a splash of orange to the tray next time I do it.

However if you want to keep it completely taste-safe for young toddlers, you can stick to cereals and other food.

Lastly, I just added in some tractors, farm animals, and farmer figures and it was ready to go.

If you’re interested in more Sensory Farm Play Activities take a look at, Messy Farm Play on the Tuff Tray: Toddler Sensory Ideas.

An Easy Fall Sensory Bin ideas, with Fall leaves, pine cones, acorns, mini pumpkins, brown seeds, and bowls and spoon.
This Fall Sensory bin is a quick 2-minute set up!

Fall Sensory Bin

This Fall Sensory Bin is such a quick and easy one to set up.

I used some brown linsead that I had in the back of the cupboard as the base for this one. You could just as easily use cocoa pops, orange lentils or any other Fall-coloured base for it.

Then I added in some Fall Forest items. Since I live in an area that’s a little short on trees, I used artificial leaves, pine cones, acorns and mini pumpkins, like these from Amazon. However, it would probably look even better with real ones!

A sensory bin filled with rice, and fall-related forest finds.

Alternatively, if you don’t have brown seeds, cocoa pops, or orange lentils to hand, this fall sensory bin activity works just as well with rice.

It’s got such a lovely texture to run through your hands. The toddler’s I childmind loved transferring the rice from one bowl to another and mixing everything together as they explored the different colours and textures.

A tuff tray set up with an autumn leaf painting activity.
Leaf Painting is a lovely Autumn Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Leaf Painting

You really can’t let Autumn pass you by without painting fallen leaves! It’s a classic Autumn Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers everywhere!

Since I don’t have many trees near where I live, I tried this activity with artificial leaves. It didn’t make such great leaf prints as real fallen leaves do, unfortunately.

However, my little ones still really enjoyed painting the leaves themselves to make Autumn art pieces. And they used the leaves as inspiration to paint their own Autumn leaves pictures.

If you’re interested in more Painting Tuff tray ideas take a look at, Painting Tuff tray Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers : Fun and Easy Activities.

One of the most popular Autumn Tuff Tray ideas! It's a set up with an Autumn activity. There's a block of ice with acorns frozen in it and another with leaves frozen in it. There are spoons, syringes, and a bowl of warm water to help melt the ice.
This is one of my most popular Autumn Tuff Tray ideas. It’s also a great STEM activity for Preschoolers.

Frozen Autumn leaves and Acorns Autumn Tuff Tray

A fun Autumn tuff tray idea for Preschoolers this Autumn is to freeze some fallen leaves and acorns or pinecones.

It’s bright and colorful, interesting, and helps your Preschoolers develop an interest in STEM activities.

For this Autumn Sensory Set-up, I provided a bowl of warm water with a few leaves and acorns floating in it. There were some bowls and scoops, and a few small medicine syringes that you can pick up from a pharmacist.

I popped a couple of tubs of water with leaves and acorns into the freezer overnight and then added them in too.

My Preschooler loved testing which items floated, and for how long, as the leaves started sinking over time. She also loved melting the ice back down to the water and ‘rescuing’ the acorns and leaves.

If you’re interested in more water play activities, check out, Water Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Fun, Easy, and Low-Prep.

A tuff tray set up with Autumn leaves, pine cones and sticks, and some old pots, pans, and spoons for a baking sensory play activity.
This is one of the simplest Tuff Tray Ideas you can do for Autumn, yet it is SO popular with toddlers!

Fall Forest-Inspired Mud Kitchen

Most Toddlers and Preschoolers love a bit of time playing in the mud, and this is the perfect Autumn Muddy Play Activity!

Simply grab some mud or soil, some water, some sticks, some pine cones, fallen leaves, and a few old pots, pans, and spoons, and let your little people play away to their heart’s content!

If you’re interested in more Muddy Play Inspiration, take a look at,

The Best Mud Kitchen Budget Accessories (Lots are Free!)

Frugal Loose Parts Garden Play you can Try Right Now.

Looking for educational Autumn tuff tray activities? This tuff tray has a basket of leaves and 3 colored circles: red, orange, and yellow, to sort the leaves into colors.
This fun Autumn-inspired tuff tray activity is educational too!

Autumn Colour Matching

This is a great activity for little ones who are just starting to learn their colours.

I just set our a few sheets of coloured paper in Autumn colours and a basket full of fallen leaves for them to sort.

This is a great one to have set up in the corner of an early years classroom, or, as I did, in the corner of my kitchen for my daughter to do while I made breakfast this morning!

It’s brilliant as you don’t need to explain what to do with this activity. Your little people will usually figure it out themselves. A great opportunity for problem solving!

If you’re interested in more educational tuff tray ideas check out, Fine Motor Skills Tuff Tray Ideas for Preschoolers.

A picture of one of the most popular Fall sensory bin ideas. A set up with a fall play activity. There are brown seeds, with fall-colored pom poms and trucks.
This is one of the most popular Fall Sensory Bin ideas with my toddlers. It is super easy to set up and so much fun!

Fall Sensory Play with Trucks

A quick and easy Fall Sensory Bin, this one was just brown linseads, Fall-coloured pom poms and some trucks.

You could also use cocoa pops for this one if you prefer, or orange lentils.

A bigger container would have made this activity better, so there was more room to move the trucks around, but it was still enjoyed for a good while by the toddlers I childmind.

It would also have worked well on my Tuff Tray, so I think I’ll try it there next time.

An Autumn Tuff Tray idea with playdoh, fallen leaves, sticks, and pinecones.
This playdoh Autumn Tuff Tray Idea is easy-peasy and your little one will love it!

Playdoh Forest Play

This was one of my most popular Autumn Tuff Tray Ideas.

It’s basically just an open-ended play opportunity for my Toddlers and Preschooler to explore Autumn items and their different textures.

It’s a great loose-parts activity!

If you haven’t heard of loose parts play before, take a look at, Frugal Loose Parts Garden Play you can try right now. It is huge in early years settings here in Scotland.

I provided Autumn coloured playdoh as well. My little ones rolled it out to make prints with the leaves and pine cones. They also ‘hid’ the pinecones inside lumps of playdoh and mixed everything together at one point to make ‘soup’!

One of my toddlers loves sliding items down things, so I stuck a kitchen roll tube to the wall next to the tuff tray and he had great fun sliding pine cones down it.

A fall sensory bin with yellow-colored water, and autumn-colored fruit to explore.
This Fall Sensory Bin focuses on the beautiful colours of Fall, whilst being taste-safe for toddlers.

Fall Themed Water Play (Taste-Safe)

Water play is a great activity for all ages and this one suits babies, right up to Preschoolers. (With close supervision, of course)

For this Fall Sensory Play Activity, I used Yellow food coloring to dye the water and then added lemon slices, orange slices, peach slices, and slices of strawberry. This is one of the easiest taste-safe sensory play activities for toddlers I’ve done.

A tuff tray set up with an autumn-themed baking invitation to play. My daughters favourite Autumn Tuff tray Ideas!
This Autumn-inspired baking set up is the perfect Autumn Tuff Tray ideas!

Autumn Baking Tuff Tray

Of all the Autumn Tuff Tray ideas, this one is my favorite. This was partly because it looks the prettiest, but also because it held my little ones’ attention the longest!

My Preschooler loves any kind of baking, real or sensory play baking! She had great fun with this one, as did the little toddler I was childminding.

I put some yellow and green cupcake cases into a muffin tray to start. Then I put a bowl of orange lentils, and one of brown linsead. I just used the seed as it was what I had, but cocoa pops would work just as well.

Then I added some Autumn leaves, pine cones, acorns and mini pumpkins.

As I don’t live close to many trees, I used artificial Autumn decorations, like these from Amazon, instead and found they worked really well.

Autumn Tuff Tray Ideas and Sensory Play Activities for Fall

These fall sensory play activities and Autumn Tuff Tray ideas are super quick and easy to set up, cheap to make, and provide great learning opportunities and enjoyment for your toddlers and preschoolers.

I have purposefully chosen sensory play activities that use items commonly found in the average family home, in the hopes this will make them even easier for you. I know how busy life can get!

My hope is that you and your little ones find as much enjoyment with these as we have.

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Pins text reads, Autumn Tuff Tray Ideas. The image is of 3 tuff tray setups for Autumn.
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Pins text reads, Fall Sensory Bin Ideas. The image is a fall sensory bin with brown linseed, pinecones, acorns, fall leaves, mini pumpkins, bowls, and spoons.
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