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Preschool Sensory Table and Theme Ideas.

Updated on July 12, 2014

Awaken A Child's Sensory With These Sensory Table Choices.

How many of you preschool teachers, childcare workers, mothers, been in a slump and your mind is trying to come up with some sensory table ideas for your little ones?

Well for me I first ran a daycare business in my home for about 13 years. I never had a Sensory table but we did play a lot with play dough and other table activities at my dining room table.

However it really wasn't until I started working as a preschool teacher assistant did I learn about all the sensory activities that you could do with children.

I started doing research over the Internet and most of the things I have learned was from Pinterest and YouTube.

Here are some Sensory Activities we have done over the years in our class:

  1. Add Kool-Aid to play dough
  2. Using shaving cream, Elmer's school glue and Kool-Aid and put different flavored colors in a muffin tin with half glue and half shaving cream and mix it all together using a paintbrush and the kids will love painting with the vibrant colors, smell and puff paint. When their painting is dry have them feel the soft velvety soft texture.
  3. During Valentine's I went to the local dollar tree and bought big round plastic tubs and heart shaped measuring scoops, I then got valentine marshmellows from the grocery store that has hearts, X's and O's and put them in the tub with water.
  4. Coffee play dough was a hit for the boys. Make play dough and mix instant coffee in it for the smell and coffee grounds for the texture to look like dirt and add dump trucks and cars and watch them have loads of fun as they build roads and make the tracks in the play dough.
  5. In springtime have bins of dirt and help them plant some seeds into a plastic cup and water, then watch the seeds grow.
  6. Kids love if you just cover the whole table with shaving cream and they can either use their fingers or a tool like paint brush to write into it or draw, add extra items to the table like plastic bugs or cars and some tempera washable paint and watch them have fun with their creativity and their minds.
  7. You can make homemade plastic using sugar free jello and little water. Spread out on a tray and let dry till it is leathery. Then sit it out on a tray with scissors to have them build their fine motor skills with their hands by cutting it into pieces. Make sure you add smelly jello for the sensory part. Whatever you do, do not use the sugar jello or it will stick to tray and is very sticky!
  8. Make or buy some moon sand and add dinasour bones and paint brushes, and magnify glasses. Or any other items you may want to choose to go into the moon sand such as molds of letters, animals etc. Easy moon sand recipe is: 8 cups of flour to 1 cup baby oil. Mix it real well for five minutes, let the kids help. :-)
  9. Using baking soda and vinegar with food colors or water colors. Place in a tub, or on a tray, a layer of baking soda. Then with vinegar and color mixed together and several different cups of this use droppers to squeeze the colored vinegar onto the baking soda and watch the color explosion and dizziness appear.
  10. Cold snow: mix baking soda and shaving cream together to the desired consistency where you can mold into snowballs and they can feel the cold it creates.

These are just a few things you can do in a tub or tray at your tables.

How to make moon sand.

Why do Children need Sensory Play and What does it do for children.

Sensory play is key to Early Child Development.

It helps stimulate children's senses through touching, smelling, tasting, sight and hearing. Sensory activities on the table or in the Sensory table will help facilitate the exploration and naturally encourage a child to explore and investigate.

It helps develops a child cognitively, linguistically, socially, physically, emotionally and their creativity.

Not only will it help in the sensory but by holding, grabbing, and squeezing and playing with the tools in the table that you add, they develops their fine hand motor skills.

Sensory Table Themes and Ideas.

Over the years I have taken many photos of my Sensory tables I put together for our class.

Here are some of mine I would like to share:

  1. For an Easter Theme you can use plastic eggs, flower foams, magnetic sticks with magnetic letters for literacy.
  2. Valentines I put together white beans, heart measure cups, pom poms, containers that have sayings on them kids love to open them up and fill with smaller items, heart shapes, ribbons, cups, and just about any valentine items you want to add. I buy a lot of my items at the dollar tree.
  3. Horton Hears A Who Theme, using shredded pink paper, squeezing items that light up, and I made the flowers out of feathers from a boa and green ties. In one of the flowers I glued a tiny white pom pom for the who. Kids will try to find the one with the who pom pom in it.
  4. Halloween or harvest theme, add shredded color paper or beans, whatever you want the base to be then fill in with cups, spiders, pumpkins, tweezers, letters, pom poms, nuts, pine cones and whatever else you may want.
  5. Another Spring Easter theme, colored grass, Easter plastic eggs, felt bunny and egg shapes, pom poms, garden water pots and I found some light up squeezable chicks and animals.
  6. Christmas theme, bowls, cups, colored red and green rice you can make by adding color and rubbing alcohol to rice and then laying out onto run foil to dry. It will dry rather fast. Then add more items such as plastic candy ribbons and decorative holiday ball ornaments, plastic candy canes, colored see through rocks, bows,and the containers with the snowman open up and were filled with gum from dollar free but I took the gum out and they were perfect for the kids sensory table. The can open and fill them with the rice and small items. I also of course again have some pom poms in the table too. I have realized how much I add them into my tables till now, guess I feel the soft touch and the eye popping colors bring it alive.
  7. I do not have some pictures of other tables I have done but a few more I have done is a Cinco de Mayo table. You can add rice, I bought the scoops and cooking items at the dollar tree and they are in vibrant orange, red and green colors. Use your imagination and add to it what you like.
  8. Bird watching table, using bird seed, and I made bird watching binoculars out of toilet paper rolls glued together and then punched holes to put string to have the binoculars hang around the neck like a necklace. Add any bird or garden themed items to the table.

Sensory Table Pictures

Horton Hears a Who flower from sensory table.
Horton Hears a Who flower from sensory table.
Christmas or Winter Holiday Theme
Christmas or Winter Holiday Theme
Easter and Spring time Theme
Easter and Spring time Theme
Harvest or Halloween Theme
Harvest or Halloween Theme
Dr Seuss week, Horton Hears a Who Theme
Dr Seuss week, Horton Hears a Who Theme
Valentine or Friendship Day Theme
Valentine or Friendship Day Theme
Another Valentine or Friendship Day Theme
Another Valentine or Friendship Day Theme
This one the teacher I assist came up with the foam flowers and the eggs for a Spring/ Easter Time Theme.
This one the teacher I assist came up with the foam flowers and the eggs for a Spring/ Easter Time Theme.

Classroom Idea for a Dr. Suess Week Theme.

I found on Pinterest an idea, however it did get spendy but is a rather cute display around the Dr. Suess Week. I made truffula trees to place around the class using dollar tree toilet plungers as the base and styrofoam balls, boa feathers, E-6000 craft glue to glue on the feathers and the foam ball. This makes a cute display in all the different areas of the classroom and it has been in our classroom for several years each time it is Dr. Suess week I bring them out from my storage to put in our class. I also have a collection of books for the kids that are all Dr.Suess books that they enjoy every day.

Dr. Suess Truffula Trees

Sensory Tables Help Children

There are no limits to the possibilities and the different things you can do in Sensory play.

Explore the internet there is a wide variety of ideas you can do for all age groups.

I hope in this article that it opened up your mind in thinking of many more creative ideas you can do for your child/ren or classroom kids.

Places I like to find ideas are:

  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Quirkeymomma.com

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