Autumn rice tray for fine motor skills

I couldn’t resist making an autumn themed fine motor skill rice tray after we collected a bag of lovely autumn treasures on a walk at the weekend.

Autumn Sensory Tray

What you’ll need:


Food Colouring

Ziploc bags

Autumn items – conkers, acorns, pinecones etc



How to colour rice

Place plain, cheap rice inside a ziploc bag, add a little food colouring and shake until all the rice is coloured. We chose autumn colours of red, yellow and orange.

Pour into a baking tray and leave to dry.

Mix the rice and add your autumn items.

Learning ideas

Use the tray for fine motor skill practice.

Ask children to sort the items into groups of 2, 3, 5 or 10.

Ask children to sort the items by size or colour.

Write numbers on the pumpkin seeds and use to practice number bonds to 10 or 20.

Questions to think and talk about

Why do you think pinecones sometimes close up?

See here for the answer.


Why are conkers inside a spiky case?

What does an acorn contain the seed for?

Why do leaves change colour in autumn?

autumn rice tray


Suitable for Early Years Foundation

Understanding of the World

More Sensory Rice Tray Ideas

Cat in the Hat rice tray

Easy flower sensory rice tray

Roald Dahl themed fine motor control ideas


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