Toddlers are super active and always learning. They get bored easily and are always in need of new activities to keep them engaged. One way to come up with new ideas is by centering them around the current season or upcoming holiday. By using the fall season as my starting off point, I was able to easily create three different activities for Atlas. I love that they can be set up quickly and used with children of varying ages. Plus, all of the materials can be purchased from Dollar Tree.
Painted Wooden Cutouts
I found these owl and pumpkin cutouts in the fall decor section of Dollar Tree. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box (or outside of the arts and crafts section) when creating activities for your little one. The owl is about 8 inches wide and the pumpkin is about 12 inches. They’re the perfect size to paint on and at $1 each, an unbeatable value!
- Wooden Cutouts
- Painting utensil (sponge, brush, paint daubber, or use your hands for fingerpainting)
I cut two cleaning sponges into different shapes for Atlas to use while painting. He had a circle, a square and a triangle. Depending on the age of your child, you can choose an appropriate painting utensil. Atlas had a lot of fun! As he painted, I talked about the colors and shapes that he was using. I added the jack-o-lantern face to the pumpkin once the paint had dried. These turned out so cute!
The leaf cutout was in the decor section as well. The other component of this project is something that you probably pick up from the Dollar Tree all the time, tissue paper! We only used three sheets of the tissue paper (each cut in half), so we have plenty left to use for future projects.
- Wooden Leaf Cutout
- Tissue Paper (we used red, yellow, and orange)
- Glue Stick
- Mod Podge (optional)
Atlas LOVES to rip paper. Whenever he finishes a finger painting or any other activity on a piece of paper, I have to quickly whisk it away if I have any hopes of keeping it. I knew that he would enjoy ripping up these sheets of tissue paper, and he had a blast! While he ripped them up, I talked to him about the different colors and the sizes of the pieces that he ripped off. If your child is older, they can cut the paper with scissors. I put some glue on the leaf and let Atlas grab handfulls of the tissue paper and press it on (with guidance). I ended up adding some Mod Podge to seal everything in, but you can leave it as is. The Mod Podge is especially optional if your child is old enough to glue the tissue on well enough so that it stays.
Fall Themed Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are the hottest DIY activity right now, and for good reason. They are easy to set up and children can play with them pretty much any way that they choose. Sensory bins allow young children to explore and learn about different materials, colors, textures, and more. This entire activity, including the bin, was $5!
- Plastic Bin
- Paper Shreds (Party Section)
- Decorative Mesh Tubing
- Decorative Maple Leaves
- Decorative Pumpkins
To create this activity, just add everything to the bin and let your child have fun! I talked with Atlas about the different objects that he picked up as he explored this sensory bin. We talked about the colors, the smooth feeling of the pumpkins, and the way that the paper shreds sounded like rustling fall leaves. The mesh tubing was super cool because it stretched and bounced back when released. Atlas had never experienced an item like this, and that’s what sensory bins are all about. Letting your child explore and learn through their senses.
Look at how much fun Atlas had! Yes, the paper shreds came out of the bin. He enjoyed putting them in and taking them out over and over again. I kept him in one area, so it was easy to clean once he was finished exploring.
These activities were easy to set up, affordable, and so much fun. I’ll be doing seasonal activity posts as the seasons and holidays change, so stayed tuned for more!
What types of fall activities have you been doing lately?
P.S. I couldn’t resist posting this close-up picture of the sensory bin. The colors and textures are so satisfying!