Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sensory Table Ideas

I love, love, LOVE my sensory table. It has been a huge part of transforming my classroom. An interesting sensory table will decrease many classroom behavior problems, offer opportunities for social growth, and build problem solving skills.

The sensory table is a center for exploring with your senses, experimenting, scooping, and pouring, squeezing and smushing (building fine motor skills for writing), sharing, and turn taking. It is the center in which a child can watch chemical reactions, mix colors, repeat observed phenomenon, and try new things.

Ideally, the items in a sensory tub should be switched out every week, depending on the children's interest level. There are some materials that need to be emptied daily--water will get pretty nasty over night. Empty, disinfect, and refill please!

Here are some of the items that have found their way into my sensory table:
Water and dinosaurs
Bubbles and bubble wands (Soap solution: 2 cups dawn dish soap and six cups of water)
Shaving Cream
Flubber and scissors 
Baking Soda, Vinegar, Empty Pie Tins, and Plastic Eye Droppers
I love hearing the sound of baking soda and vinegar mixing
Shaving Cream and Liquid Water Colors
Oobleck (Cornstarch and Water)
Soapy Water and Dishes
Colored Water and recycled containers
Don't forget the funnels!
Cooking utensils, water, and large bins to add another level for scooping and pouring. This is my rudimentary attempt at adding levels to sensory play. Check out Sand and Water Tables and Teacher Tom for more info! I will definitely be trying some more of their great ideas!!!
Cordy uses the bowl to pour water through a funnel and into a second container.
Rainbow Rice and flour! (Use liquid water colors to color the rice. For more recipes, check out Lisa Murphy, the Ooey Gooey lady. She has free handouts that you can download on her website, and videos on YouTube.
Oatmeal, Cinnamon, and Salt--another idea borrowed from Lisa Murphy.
...And Another: Clean Mud (1 Toilet Paper Roll, 3 Ivory Soap bars, and 1 pitcher of warm water. Mix it up, and it makes a pudding-like consistency. We added brown liquid water color, but it ended up looking more pink than brown. Still fun!)
I don't ever claim to have "original" ideas...just play-based ones. :)

Happy Playing!


  1. ended up with one of those mislabeled brown bottles, too, I see! When I contacted Discount School Supply, they sent me a new bottle, and the brown actually does look brown when labeled correctly, lol! I had three mislabeled bottles in that shipment!

    Great list! Just found your it!

  2. Thanks, Bev! It never occurred to me that the bottle might be mislabeled! I just figured that their brown was pinkish. lol

    Thanks for the comment! The blog is relatively new...I had tons of pictures, and I was looking for a descriptive way of sharing what we do with parents. Blogging accomplishes that, and the network of like-minded teachers all in one place is a bonus!

  3. Perfect link up to this week's It's Playtime since I featured a bunch of Sensory ideas! I actually featured the post you linked up LAST week about wind - its all around us and we often forget that its a sensory activity in itself! :) Thanks so much for sharing these fun ideas!! Love them all!


  4. This is a wondeful playtime post. So, many great ideas for sensory bins. I love to fill our sand water table with stuff. I hadnt thought to do bubbles. They dont end up with soap in their eyes?

  5. What a wonderful resource of ideas for sensory play :)

  6. I love this! This is why I miss the classroom!! Look at all of the collaboration!!! Love the Sand and Water table!!


Thanks for you comment! Happy playing!

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