//by Sharayah Lynn Grattan

Learning comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Even in a classroom setting learning can be implicit, spontaneous, creative, and sensory! When we are young, before we go to school, we spend all day learning from our surroundings and senses. We can incorporate this style of learning in the academic world by incorporating engaging and interactive activities into our curriculum. Sensory tables are hands-on learning tools students can touch, see, and discuss to encourage open-ended thinking and discovery.

1. Water Play Table

This DIY sensory table idea is perfect for a sunny day of refreshing fun and learning! You can get creative with your table construction and add toys and funnels so your little learners have plenty of components to touch and interact with.

Learn more: What's Up Moms

2. Book-Themed Sensory Table

Choose a read-aloud book your students really love and create a sensory table inspired by the story and characters.

Learn more: Growing Book by Book

3. Watercolor Cotton Table

This sensory table inspiration is easy to set up, and multiple students can interact with it at once. Fill the bins with cotton that looks like snow and set up watercolor palettes and brushes for students to use to express themselves.

Learn more: Pinterest

4. Measuring Rice Table

This table with rice is a huge hit for kids! We love the feeling of cool, solid rice sliding through our hands. Put a variety of scooping tools in the bin for students to measure and understand weight and amounts.

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

5. Googly Eyes Table

Time for your kids to SEE how fun hands-on learning can be! Fill a bucket of water and add some food coloring to make it more visually engaging. Throw in some googly eyes and have your kids fish around and stick them to things.

Learn more: Fun at Home with Kids

6. Fresh Herb Sensory Table

This idea was inspired by mint, but you can get creative and add a variety of fresh herbs to your bin for your students to sort, cut, and separate in their own way. This is practical knowledge about nature and food they will love to smell, touch, and taste!

Learn more: Mama, Papa, Bubba

7. Moon Dough Sensory Table

This mushy, moldable moon sand is just 2 ingredients: flour and baby oil. Have your students help you make this homemade sand adaptation then put it in bins and give them different molds, scoops, toys, and tools to use to create whatever their little heart desires.

Learn more: Mama, Papa, Bubba

8. Goopy Gooey Sensory Table

This sensory material is so versatile and evolving your kids can play with it for hours and not get bored. It just takes corn starch and liquid starch to create this gooey substance, and if you want to add color just mix in food coloring or Kool-Aid powder.

Learn more: Fun Littles

9. Funnel Stand Table

This one has a few table components that make it more interactive and help kids use their motor skills. You can add a funnel stand to any setup with measurable sensory table fillers, and have your kids compete in funnel races!

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

10. DIY Mud and Bugs Table

Time to get messy with this insect-inspired sensory table with toy bugs and edible mud. Your kids can play with different insects in an environment that is safe but looks real.

30 of Our Favorite Classroom Ideas for DIY Sensory Tables

Learn more: My Bored Toddler

11. Bubble Wrap Finger Painting Table

Who doesn't love messing with bubble wrap? To add to this sensory exploration experience, give your kids some finger paints and let them pop and paint the bubble wrap any way they like! The texture will inspire sensory ideas and creativity in their little minds.

Learn more: Childhood 101

12. Spell My Name Sensory Table

This table encourages your kids to build words and practice letter sounds in a hands-on way. Fill a bin with different colorful toys and plastic letters, and have your kids try to find the letters of their names.

Learn more: Nurture Store

13. Pumpkin Sorting Sensory Table

There are a few sensory table tools involved in this one. Get some cute pumpkin containers from the craft store, some cotton balls, beans, and tongs. Put the dried pinto beans at the bottom of the bin then the cotton balls on top. Kids can use the tongs to pick up the cotton balls and place them in the pumpkin buckets!

Learn more: I Heart Crafty Things

14. I Spy Sensory Table

Time for some vocabulary practice with tactilely-stimulating materials and clues. Fill a bin with any sensory materials you have lying around. Then hide your items inside, give your kids the clue sheet, and let them go!

Learn more: The Dabbling Speechie

15. Counting Table

For kids still learning to recognize numbers, this dice and plastic pieces bin is a fun way for them to visualize and feel the numbers by counting the dots on each piece.

Learn more: Happy Toddler Playtime

16. Color Matching Table

This colorful sensory experience is perfect for the childhood classroom where students are still learning about different colors and their names. Label some bottles and get some rainbow cotton balls for kids to categorize.

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

17. Lego Building Table

Time to build something! Fill a bucket with water and give your kids some legos to try and build something that will float. See how creative they are with the unique designs for their rafts and boats.

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

18. Baking Soda Foam Table

Talk about fun exploration! This foamy and fun activity will have your kids smiling from ear to ear. Put baking soda in 4 cups and add different food coloring to each. Then have your kids drip a mix of vinegar and dish soap into each cup and watch them grow, fizz, and foam in different colors!

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

19. Bird Sensory Table

This bird-themed table for students has all the tools you need for your students to fly away with their imaginations. Get some plastic feathers, fake birds, nests, and any other DIY materials to make your bird bin.

Learn more: Happy Toddler Playtime

20. Sand Tray Toy Table

Fill a bin with sand and encourage your kids to create a scene using toy cars, buildings, signs, and trees. They can build their own city, manipulate it, and explore it all day!

Learn more: Pickle Bums

21. Rainbow Spaghetti Table

It's fun to play around with slinky and slimy spaghetti, so let's step it up by making it rainbow! Mix the pasta with different food dye gels and let your kids create pictures, designs, and messes with this colorful pasta.

Learn more: Parenting Chaos

22. Magnet Letters Table

Magnets are super cool and exciting for kids to play around with as a sensory table tool. You can buy magnet letters and a magnet board, then fill your sensory bin with kidney beans or colorful rice and have your kids try to find and match the letters.

Learn more: Mighty Scholars Preschool

23. Caps and Marbles Table

These sensory table fillers are great for improving kids' motor skills and coordination. Get some toy caps and marbles and have your kids try to fill each cap with a marble. They can use their hands or different tools such as a spoon or tongs.

Learn more: Happy Toddler Playtime

24. Wrap It Up Table

We all know how challenging it can be to wrap something in paper (especially around Christmas time). Get some wrapping paper or newspaper and some small toys and different shaped objects and have your kids try to cover them in paper. This activity helps with scissor skills and spatial relativity.

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

25. Scratch and Sniff Painting Table

This table is extra special from adding your own DIY touches to regular finger painting paper. To make it smell, mix some dried/fresh herbs or extracts into your paint so each color you kids touch smells different!

Learn more: Hello, Wonderful

26. Flower Ice Table

This sensory activity is fun for kids of all ages. Get some ice cube trays, go outside and help your students find and pick some flower petals. Pour water into each tray and carefully place the petals in each ice cube slot. Once they are frozen you can play with them to see nature frozen in time!

Learn more: Nurture Store

27. Beads of the Ocean Table

Water beads are just a crazy squishy sensation, great for kids to touch and play with. Fill your bin with blue and white water beads then put some sea creature toys inside.

Learn more: One Lovely Life

28. Arctic Landscape Table

Help your kiddos create their own arctic environment with fake snow, blue marbles, ice, and arctic animal toys. They can design their own world and play with the animals inside.

Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids

29. Mixing and Sorting Beans Table

Get a variety of dried beans and put them in a bin. Give your kids different tools and ways of scooping and sorting them by size, color, and shape!

Learn more: Pinterest

30. Kinetic Sand Table

This magical, moldable sand keeps the shape of whatever is holding it, so the possibilities are endless in regards to what your little learners can create. Give them containers, toys, and molds to manipulate the sand with.

Learn more: Busy Toddler

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Category: Classroom Ideas