Educational Activities For Sensory Tables

I partnered with Children’s Factory to share how we use their Sensory Tables and Kidfetti™ educationally.This post also contains affiliate links. I may make small profit from purchases on those links. These purchases help to keep this blog running.

First Explore

Before you start any activities with a child, they need time to explore the environment freely. Join in as well. Discuss what you see and how the items in the sensory table feel. Of course this is also the time when you discuss the rules of the Children’s Factory Sensory Table and the Kidfetti™. (i.e. the Kidfetti™ must stay in the table.) If you are outside add water to the table and for extra fun mix in some soap for bubbles.

The first day we got the table, put it together and added the Kidfetti™ Izzy was in awe. She put her arms in all the way to her shoulders. Then she lifted her leg and put her foot in. I told her if she wanted to put her feet in it, we needed to take it out of the stand. I think sensory exploration is very important. I do also give Izzy the rules of new “toys” and activities as they are introduced.

As you will see in each activity below, items will be added to the table. Be sure to also allow your child to explore these items in the table prior to working on the developmental learning outcomes.

So you can easily engage in all activities shared, I linked all educational items discussed in this post here.

1. Fine Motor Tweezer Fun

During this activity you want to place the items slightly visible and out of the Kidfetti™ so the child can easily reach for the item with the tweezers. Be sure positional words such as on, under, in out. We worked with pretend cookies and different colored letters. As we pulled out cookies or letters we would sort them based on cookie type and letter color. Say the colors with your child as they pull them out to support their color knowledge and sorting skills. Specifically for the “cookies”, as we pulled each one out we would count. Sometimes we would count the “cookies”once we had pulled all of one type out.

Your child may enjoy making the experience into a dramatic play situation. If you are hiding “cookies” in the table, let your child place them on a cookie sheet, plate or bowl as they pull them out with tweezers.

Developmental Learning Outcomes:

Language: Gaining new positional word vocabulary such as, on, under, in, out

Cognitive: Gaining math skills such as counting and sorting the different items they discover in the table. Gaining color and shape knowledge

Physical: Refining fine motor skills while practicing to grasp items from the sensory table with a pincer grasp. This can help build hand strength for handwriting down the road

Social & Emotional: Asking for help, building confidence in trying new things, guessing, sharing and turn taking

2. Letter Search

2a. Hide the letters in the Kidfetti™ or water. Add soap and make bubbles in the water for extra fun and to create more mystery with what is in the table. Encourage your child to find all letters hidden. For children learning letter recognition you can ask them what letter they pulled out. Give some wait time after asking. If after 1-2 minutes passes and they guess wrong or start reaching for the next letter, hold up the letter and state the letter name. You want to do this prior to them moving on to the next. Now state, i.e. “You found letter A.” Note, if the child states the wrong letter name, be sure to stay positive by just stating the correct letter. It can be discouraging for the child to hear something such as, “no that’s not correct.” If your child knows their letters, you can do the same thing except ask them the letter sound instead of letter name.

While engaging in the play use positional words such as “on, under, in and out.”

2b. Hide specific letters in the tables water or Kidfetti™. Tape a card to the edge of the table with a word. Have the child find all letters to the word. Now support the child as they take one letter at a time and lay them down in order to create the word.

While engaging in the play use positional words such as “on, under, in and out.” For children who have mastered these words, use words such as, “left, right and middle.” (I.e. “Letter O goes in the middle of the word MOM.”)

2c. Hide specific the letters in the water or Kidfetti™. Have the child find all letters and support them as they work to create the scrambled word. This time there is no card to support them when unscrambling the word. This is a much more advanced level activity.

While engaging in the play use positional words such as “on, under, in and out.” For children who have mastered these words, use words such as, “left, right and middle.” (I.e. “Letter O goes in the middle of the word MOM.”)

Developmental Learning Outcomes:

Language: Gaining new positional word vocabulary such as, on, under, in, out, left, right, & middle. Gaining early literacy skills such as letter knowledge, letter sounds, creating words and reading new words

Cognitive: Problem solving to find the letters and using the letters to create words with and without word card support

Physical: Refining fine motor strength while digging through the water or Kidfetti™ and pulling out letters

Social & Emotional: Asking for help, building confidence in trying new things, guessing, sharing and turn taking

3. Measuring & Estimation

Give your child measuring cups of varying sizes. As always, first allow them time to play and explore with these tools. Next join in grabbing a half cup and pouring it into a 1 cup scoop. Show how 2 scoops from the half cup fills the 1 cup. Try this with different measuring cups. Guess which scoop is bigger/smaller and will hold more/less. Now explore your guesses to see if you are right. For more advanced motor skills use measuring spoons or plastic silverware spoons to fill up the measuring cups with.

Developmental Learning Outcomes:

Language: Gaining new language such as more/less, bigger/smaller, guess/estimate and pour. Also measuring vocabulary such as 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup

Cognitive: Estimation of cup sizes, which is bigger and smaller and specifics such as 2 half cup scoops will fit in a 1 cup scoop

Physical: Refining/gaining fine motor skills from scooping and spooning the Kidfetti™

Social & Emotional: Asking for help, sharing and turn taking, building confidence in estimation and checking for accuracy

4. Shape Search

Hide the shapes in the Kidfetti™ or water. Add soap and make bubbles in the water for extra fun and to create more mystery with what is in the table. Encourage your child to find all hidden shapes. For children learning shape recognition you can ask them what shape they pulled out. Give some wait time after asking. If after 1-2 minutes passes and they guess wrong or start digging for the next shape hold up the shape they had pulled out and state the shape name. You want to do this prior to them moving on to the next. Now state, i.e.”You found a circle.” Note, if the child states the wrong shape name, be sure to stay positive by just stating, in an excited voice, the correct shape. I.e. “That is a circle!”or “You found a circle!” It can be discouraging for the child to hear something such as, “no that’s not correct.” If your child knows their shapes, you can ask them to sort the shapes into “like” piles as they pull them put.

While engaging in the play use positional words such as “on, under, in and out.”

Developmental Learning Outcomes:

Language: Gaining/refining new positional word vocabulary such as, on, under, in, out, left, right, & middle. Gaining/refining shape name knowledge and pronunciation.

Cognitive: Problem solving to find the shapes hidden, along with refining matching and sorting skills.

Physical: Refining fine motor strength while digging through the water or Kidfetti™ and pulling out shapes

Social & Emotional: Asking for help, building confidence in trying new things, guessing, sharing and turn taking

I hope you all enjoy these activities with your children/students. Please comment or ask questions if you need further clarifications.If you are curious where to find any items discussed or pictured in this post, they are linked here.

XO Eryka

 

13 Comments Add yours

  1. xokerry says:

    That table looks so fun! Parker would love it and Kidfetti 🙂

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      Yes the kidfetti is awesome

  2. Kim S says:

    This is a great learning tool! I love seeing all of the things it teaches a child!

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      Yes! We love learning through play

  3. These are such great ideas!! I know my girls would flip for the sensory table!!

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      Thank you! It’s such a fun learning experience

  4. RACHEL LOZA says:

    Umm this is THE coolest sensory table EVER!

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      Right? We are obsessed

  5. TMS says:

    I love these suggestions, I use our water table for a sensory table and I’m always looking for good ideas of what to put in there!

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      Yes! So glad you love it all! There are so many ways to use these tables

  6. Rachelle says:

    These look so fun! Perfect for preschoolers!!

    1. busylittleizzy says:

      They are so great for preschool kids

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