Last week Jon and I finished making the kids a homemade sensory table for their art room, and ever since they have been asking to play with it non stop! For those who haven't been exposed to the Pinterest sensation of kids sensory activities, I thought I would share a little bit about our table and what we like to do with it.
I have been eyeing real sensory tables on Amazon for years, but I could never get on board with spending over $100 for a table with a bin built in to it, so when I ran across this kids table for free at the Airman's Attic, I knew I had finally found the perfect beginnings for a DIY project. I carted it home and fixed it up with some scrubbing and spray paint and then cut a hole just the right size for a shallow bin. About an hour of work and I saved a hundred bucks, so not bad for a days work!
We already had most of our supplies since we enjoyed playing with sensory stuff long before we had a table, but I did invest in some shelves and bins to help keep it more organized. Now that everything is labeled, my OCD can rest at ease! Our favorite supplies fall in to two categories, base substances and play enhancements.
Base substances: pom poms, feathers, clay, play doh, coffee, beans, corn, shredded paper, shaving cream, fake snow, moon sand, moon dough, floam, flubber, oobleck, silly string, oatmeal, flour, water beads, gravel, dirt, sand, any sort of material that kids can sift, pour, dig in, dump, ect.
Play enhancements: easter eggs, cars, sea shells, sand toys, small figures, marbles, cookie cutters, rocks, fake flowers, gardening tools, found objects, small toys, any sort of small object that adds to imaginative play.
There are two main ways we play with our table, the first is to let the kids pick a base substance and dump it in and the to pick a few enhancement objects to add to it. For example, Aurora might dump in the moon sand and then pick the sea shells and sand toys to add to it. We only do one base substance at a time to keep things neat, the kids might have fun with it, but I personally do not want to clean up flubber+oatmeal mixed together! This way our supplies stay nice and we can reuse them over and over!
The other way we play with our table is to create small worlds inside of it. We choose a base substance, and then either build a habit for an animal or set up an imaginative play scene. For example, we might make up a batch of water beads and then create an ocean environment for our aquatic animal figures. This opens all sorts of doors for talking about animals and where they live or we could set up a farm and talk about our food and where it comes from, the possibilities are endless!
I'll be sharing some more of the specifics for different recipes for fun base substances and some of the different bin ideas we've come up with. If you have a favorite sensory material, I'd love to hear about it!
For more sensational sensory ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.