Sensory tables make great ways for kids to explore and learn by interaction. Children need to learn in hands-on ways because their brains are young and developing. By using sensory tables, you actively engage multiple areas of their malleable minds to form new and exciting connections and thoughts to increase their understanding. Let’s look at some ideas for creating sensory tables that will make your students think creatively.
1. Create A Habitat
You could make a habitat out of your sensory table. Let your students vote on a habitat that they like and want to make. Then start planning. For a swamp, you could make the floor material out of something squishy, like play-doh. Or you could look up your own recipe and make a homemade goop of some sort from cornstarch and water. Stick raw broccoli into the play-doh ground to make trees. If you want to make a small pond or rivulet running through the swamp, carve out a crevice in the play-doh and fill it with water. For the wildlife, you can use small animal figurines from the store or make your own. It’s probably best to try out both and see which method your students like best.
2. Only Use Your Feet
This sensory table idea involves only letting students use their feet. You’ll go through multiple stages for this one. Start off with something easy like putting cranberries into the sensory tub and letting students step on and squish them with their feet. Move to the next stage where you add in sound by letting students pop bubble wrap in the sensory tub. Eventually you could get to the last stage in which students are making mud pudding with their feet and getting mud between their toes. Mix it up and find fun ways to make this foot table interesting. Worried about the mess? Children’s Factory Mess ‘N Play Splash Mats are great for messy projects like these. These reversible, fire retardant mats contain the mess and make clean up super easy. Use on a table to protect surfaces or on the floor to contain spills and messes underneath sensory sand and water tables.
3. Glow In The Dark Fun
Children love shiny objects and glowing displays. So you might want to think about turning out the lights for your next sensory table experience. Buy a few bags of blacklight or neon items that glow in the dark—pom poms, cups, straws, pipe cleaners, beads, shapes, and any other interesting assortments you can find. Then turn the lights out and let the kids make glowing art by gluing the various items to paper or cardboard. They’ll enjoy creating abstract designs and think in different ways because of all the added glow and light. A glow in the dark sensory table can also be modified to create a creepy Halloween themed experience. You can add in extras like gummy worms and gag toys. Light tables are also excellent for tracing, Prism Bricks®, x-rays, leaves, or other translucent items. Light tablets, such as Jonti-Crafts Illumination Light Tablet, add mobility and are easy to set up and store.
Your sensory tables should keep your students thinking and being creative. It’s a fun way to let students relax and enjoy themselves while still learning. By making learning fun at the very start of a child’s life, you can help keep them wanting to learn throughout life. If you need more great ideas for your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to assist!