Exploring Emotions Through Autumn-Themed Sensory Play

Mina Minozzi, Child Emotion Specialist and Children’s Author
30th October 2023

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Autumn is a season that encourages our senses and emotions in a unique way. The cooler air, the rustling leaves, and the warm hues create a sensory wonderland that can be a powerful tool for children’s emotional exploration.

Here are some autumn-themed sensory play ideas and how they can be used to help children explore and understand their emotions.

I see

Organise a scavenger hunt in a local park or your outdoor play area. Children can search for acorns, pinecones, or brightly coloured leaves, enhancing their sensory experiences while encouraging teamwork with others to find the objects. During and after we can guide children through emotional exploration, describing the exciting feeling in our bodies when searching and reflecting on how what we find makes us feel.

I smell

Let children explore the aromatic spices often associated with autumn, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Have them smell and touch these spices while discussing the feelings they evoke. Compare the feelings they had when they first saw it to those after smelling it, exploring if it was what they expected.

I hear

The sound of chirping birds, pouring rain and gusty winds can have a profound effect on children’s emotions. By creating musical instruments using autumn objects such as leaves and twigs, encourage children to explore the sounds they can produce and express their different emotions through music. Could anger be the sound of loud sticks banging or sadness be the sound of water falling off leaves into a bucket?

I feel

Textures play a crucial role in sensory development. Autumn provides an array of textures, from crunchy leaves to smooth, cool stones. These tactile experiences can help children explore emotions like comfort, discomfort, and curiosity. We can create a safe leaf pile for children to jump into and discuss how it feels, encouraging them to express their emotions through their actions and words.

Autumn is not just a season of change in nature; it’s a season of self-discovery. With our guidance, we can provide children a safe and nurturing environment to explore, understand, and express their emotions. Helping them to notice the feelings and creating a sensory-rich experience for children.

Find out more and get in touch by visiting Mina’s website or Instagram.

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