Pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, leaves crunching beneath your boots - ahhhh, Fall! Here are some simple ways to take share the season with your baby through simple play.
DIY Fall Leaf Mobile - best for newborn+
This is one of the dozens of ways you can use an inexpensive photo mobile to create a visual exploration activity for your little one. Gather brightly colored fall leaves and clip them to the mobile using 2 clips per leaf so they lay flat above baby's play area.
Fall Sensory Bottles - best for newborn+
Gather and place pinecones, leaves, acorns or other fall materials in a sensory bottle or empty clear drink bottle. For babies not yet reaching and grasping, these can be used to promote head turning or for visual exploration in Tummy Time or sidelying positions.
Tummy Time Gourd Exploration - best for 3 months+
Place mini-gourds of different colors and textures in front of your baby for Tummy Time visual and touch exploration. Baby not yet reaching in Tummy Time? Prop baby on a nursing pillow to free his hands for touching. TIP: cut and sand any long or sharp stems
Tummy Time Leaf Exploration - best for 3 months+
If baby isn’t yet obsessed with bringing objects to his mouth, try offering a leaf touching pan with very close supervision (and a pacifier in the mouth if your baby likes one). Again, prop on a nursing pillow to free his hands if baby isn’t yet able to reach in Tummy Time.
Leaf Bag - best for 3 months+
But if your baby has officially entered the mouthy stage, secure crunchy leaves in a Ziplock bag to safely explore. For Tummy Time play, tape the bag to a hard floor for leaf slapping, squishing and crunching. For play in other positions, simply hand over the bag to your little one to shake and squeeze.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Sensory Play - best for 3 months+
This is a perfect lazy-parenting-day win! Enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte and wipe the cup dry when you’ve finished. Hand the cup to your little one to play with and enjoy the fall aroma remaining in your cup. Believe it or not, this makes an awesome developmental baby play activity including sensory experiences, fine motor and, bilateral coordination (using two hands together) challenges.
DIY Scented Rattles - best for 3 months+
Place large, spices (not-powdered) such as whole cloves, whole allspice and cinnamon sticks into travel bottles with pop-up lids and add dried food items to make a rattle sound (dry rice, beans, corn kernels, lentils, etc.). Pop the lid open and let baby reach, grab and shake to his heart’s content!
Squishy Pumpkin Play - best for 3 months+
Scoop the innards out of a pumpkin and place in a shallow pan for (closely supervised) Tummy Time touch and smell exploration. Or, if your little one puts everything in his mouth, secure the pumpkin guts in a Ziplock bag to shake and squeeze (or tape the bag to the floor for Tummy Time play).
Leaf Hunt - best for 6 months+
Gather fall leaves with your baby for a great sensory experience. Carrying, holding and putting down gives baby tons of movement and body awareness sensory input while placing baby in the grass is great tactile (touch) sensory input. Looking for leaves, talking about leaves and looking where you’re pointing is all great learning for baby. A leaf hunt is a great way for your little one to practice new skills like sitting, crawling or walking.
Edible Fall Paints - best for 6 months+
This is a great messy sensory play activity that can be done in an empty baby pool or bathtub just before to contain the mess and simplify clean-up. It also makes for great toddler and sibling fun! Make edible fall “paints” by combining pureed foods like pumpkin, yogurt and applesauce with a dash of autumn spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Offer paintbrushes to baby and show him how to paint the pool or tub or his own body!
All activities described require close supervision - eyes on baby within arm's reach.