Sensory activities provide incredibly valuable ‘hands on’ learning for children, and summer is the perfect time to get your kids splashing and scooping and mixing and squishing. Building a sensory table is easy, fun and totally worth the effort. We knew we had created a masterpiece when we revealed the final product to little Alexia, who simply couldn’t get enough of her new toy.
Off to the op shop
There are many ways to build a sensory table, but to keep the price down a good idea is to begin at your local op shop. We found a glass top bamboo table from the Salvation Army for $8, and it proved to be the perfect frame.
Firstly, we removed the glass panel. With this gone, we needed to create a new wooden table top, with spaces for a couple of plastic containers to sit in. We found the perfect shallow plastic trays at The Warehouse and took a trip to Bunnings to source some wood. To make sure we bought the right amount of wood, there was some comprehensive measuring to be done. Using paper as a template (two A3 pages stuck together), we measured the circumference of the top of the table and the size of the plastic containers – placing the containers on the paper and tracing around them. In order for the containers to fit snugly, but still be easily removed, remember to subtract about 5mm from your container measurements.
We then took our paper template to Bunnings, and the staff there cut some pieces of wood to size for us. (If you have some scrap wood at home, you could easily complete this step of the process yourself). We then laid the pieces of wood on top of the paper template, making sure we had the correct shape, before securing the pieces together using liquid nails and a staple gun. We now had a new table top for the bamboo table.
While the liquid nails were drying, we painted the bamboo table using Resene Yabbadabbadoo, adding some more bright colours to the bottom rack – Resene Shooting Star, Lickety Split and Hi Jinx. Once the table top was dry, we secured it onto the bamboo frame using liquid nails. Once dry, we painted the table top in Resene Yabbadabbadoo.
After leaving it to set overnight, we inserted the plastic containers into the frame, poured in the water, popped in the moon sand and found lots of colourful containers to complete the project.
Moon sand recipe
4 cups flour
½ cup of baby oil
Crushed chalk/powder paint
Delight your child’s senses by adding a lovely fragrance to the moon sand – cocoa powder works really well (who doesn’t love the smell of chocolate?). You could also put the moon sand in the fridge overnight for a chilly sensory experience. This is a great idea for a hot summer’s day.
We chose moon and sand and water as the primary ‘ingredients’ for our sensory table, but you could fill the plastic trays with all sorts of exciting things. Here are a few more ideas that will bring your child hours of sensory fun.
- Coloured rice
- Squishy spaghetti
- Dry noodles or beans
- Shaving cream
- Beach sand
- Soapy water
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