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Recently, sensory integration has been discussed at length in educational circles.  Sensory Table ideasFrom birth, children learn about the world around them by using their 5 senses.  They take in information through touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting.  The brain then organizes this input and builds a foundation for more experiences to build upon in the future.  Sensory play has also been shown to be therapeutic to children who have anxiety, emotional problems, or disorders such as ADD or autism.  Use some of these sensory table ideas in a preschool classroom or at home to help a child explore and learn about the world around them.

Fill a sensory table with any of the following ingredients and watch as children use the materials.

  • Rice
  • Birdseed
  • Water
  • Bubbles and wands (2 cups dish detergent to 6 cups water)
  • Pine cones or needles
  • Sand
  • Shaving cream
  • Playdoh
  • Pie tins with baking soda and droppers of vinegar
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Ice cubes (use food coloring or freeze small toys inside them for a surprise)
  • Corn kernels
  • Styrofoam packing peanuts
  • Dirt with gardening tools and plastic bugs
  • Sticky recipes such as oobleck, gak, and flubber

In addition to a sensory ingredient, add cups, bowls, tongs, and funnels so children can scoop, pour, and work on other small motor skills. Hide small items such as tiny plastic dinosaurs in the sensory materials for children to find, or allow them to add toys like small cars to make their own creation.

For dry materials, throw out the sensory table ingredients after about a week.  Not only will children be ready for a new experience, but it will keep the table hygienic.  Water and wet materials should be disposed of every day.

In the classroom or at home, toddlers, preschoolers and even younger elementary school students all love a sensory table.  Be creative, fill it with different materials and watch kids learn as they play.  To find a sensory table that meets your needs, contact us. Follow our Sensory Tables & Sensory Ideas Pinterest board where we share great ideas and tips for engaging the senses.