the kiddos

DIY Spring Sensory Table Station

DIY SPRING Sensory Table

Willy is my curious little boy. He loves anything new. He’s observant and let’s you know when something is out of place or new in the room. He wants to touch everything. He wants to know how things works. And he wants to try it all himself.

With April comes a low tolerance for the indoors, Elmo, and there may or may not be permanent tread marks in my carpet from push carts and toddler bikes. We needed a brain activity and we needed it yesterday.

Sensory tables have always seemed intimidating purely because I usually only see them at preschool or at the children’s museum with a long explanation of the thought behind the particular contents, but when you think about it, they’re simple. They’re items in a bin, and focus on letting the imaginations go wild while practicing some fine motor skills and making observations. You literally can’t mess it up. A few weeks ago, while putting away Easter decorations, I decided to give it a whirl:

(I know, you literally just put all that crap away and if you see one more strand of Easter grass, you’re literally going to die. I get it and I’m sorry.) 

Sensory Table2_Sahl and White

GATHER: A  Plastic Tub | White Rice | Food Coloring | Egg Cartons | Plastic Easter Eggs | Containers of Multiple Sizes | Easter Grass | Utensils of Various Sizes | Knick Knack Toys

DO: 

1. First dye your rice. I used this tutorial and found it easy with zero mess.

2. Set out all of the materials – put smaller Easter eggs inside larger ones, hide things in the grass or bury it in the rice, etc.

3. Unleash the beasts kiddos.

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I didn’t say a word or tell him how to use anything. I wanted to see how he reacted to the set up. He immediately got down and dirty, climbing right in and sitting down in the bin, among all the props. He poured and scooped and opened and closed and we talked about how we can dye rice different colors and how if you put rice into the eggs it makes a noise when you shake it. We went over the different textures of the rice compared with grass and rubbed it between our hands. Willy hated how the rice felt on his toes and got SO mad when I tried to bury his feet with the rice (sorry bud, my bad ha). He stirred and stirred and stirred some more, experimenting what would happen if he put it in the cup vs. what would happen if he tried to pour it all over the floor (I strongly suggested he keep it in the bin….).

His interest lasted for about 45 min. and it was so fun to see him in action. After he was done, I won’t lie, there was rice all over the kitchen floor, but nothing that a broom couldn’t handle. Overall, it took me about 15 min. to set up and 15 min. to clean and put everything away.

A few tips:

  • Depending on how little your little one is, don’t include a spoon. Willy is 19 mo. and did really well with not putting the rice in his mouth, but the second I gave him a spoon to use, he thought it was time to eat 🙂
  • If you don’t have a wood or laminate floor, put down a plastic table cloth. It’s necessary for clean up.
  • It will be kinda messy. If you don’t have the time or hate messy, wait until you can do it outside.
  • Make sure you save the supplies for next time!

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