Our daughter, Piper, recently turned 7-years-old. Piper has Down syndrome and she LOVES to stir, pour, scoop, and dig. What better birthday gift than a DIY Sensory Table!?!
Studies have shown that sensory play is one of the very best ways to aid in the development of young children, whether they have special needs or not. A table filled with fun materials help your children engage all of their 5 senses while developing their fine motor skills. Having a variety of fillers allows your children to be creative in how they use the objects in the bins. We also encourage our kids to count, organize, and match their materials (which aids in cognitive development). As an added benefit, research shows that sensory play has a calming effect on children who tend to be anxious or hyperactive!
Keep reading for ideas on how to create a fun sensory table for your home!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.*
OUR SENSORY TABLE & FILLERS
Ikea has a beautiful sensory table that is currently out of stock (boo). So I made Piper’s table using the KidKraft Reversible Wooden Activity Table purchased on Amazon. This table was originally designed to build and store Legos. But the depth of the table is the perfect size for 6 plastic bins from Target to nestle inside. Those bins can be filled with super fun materials for your children to explore. And, perhaps most importantly, the table comes with a lid! Can I get an Amen?
I filled Piper’s baskets with…
Amazon also has a variety of sensory bin tools that are perfect for tiny hands and made from natural materials. I settled on the Naturskool Sensory Bin Tools and they have been a big hit. I may need to purchase another set soon for Piper’s sister and 3 brothers who are always eager to play along!
Other filler ideas
I tried to keep our sensory bins simple, with items that are less likely to be put in little mouths. But there are SO MANY options to fill your DIY Sensory Table with! I plan to swap out our materials quarterly so that the kids don’t get bored. You can even set up bins to play with your table outside and bins specifically for inside play. Or bins for when the kids are supervised during play and bins that can be explored independently. Your options are limitless!
- Popcorn Kernels
- Multicolor Pom Poms
- Tiny Acrylic Leaves, Pumpkins, Pine Cones…Perfect for Fall!
- Rice or Oats (though this requires the bravest of parents!)
- Easter Grass
- Water Beads (though these require some upkeep to keep them from molding)
- Perler Beads
- Crinkle Cut Paper Shred
- Bird Seed
- Kinetic Sand
The options are limitless on how you can utilize a sensory table in your home with your unique kids. I hope you have fun creating yours in a way that works well for your family. I promise your kids will benefit from this fun sensory play!
books about sensory play
Check out these helpful books if you are interested in learning more about how sensory play can benefit the children in your home!
- Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Easy Projects to Develop Fine Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination, and Early Measurement Concepts by Casey Patch
- Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids: 60 Easy Creative Play Projects That Boost Brain Development, Calm Anxiety and Build Fine Motor Skills by Mandisa Watts
- Sensory Adventures: A Guide to Increasing Literacy Through Sensory Play by Faith Harralson
- The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live by Kathy H. Lee & Lesli Richards (this one is an excellent guide to turning your home into a learning environment for your preschoolers)
Check out Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama to learn more about our big fun family!