Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Outdoor Sensory Table Ideas?

We have both a sand table and a water table. The sand table is useful year round, but the water table is pretty much a hot weather only attraction. I would like to use it during the fall/winter as an outdoor sensory table on the deck.

I'm just not sure what to fill it with. We don't need two sand tables. It needs to be something dry so that they can play in it with winter coats/gloves on if that's necessary. It also needs to be able to withstand some humidity without getting icky given that I'd like to leave it outside. Also, it needs to be something that is either big enough to easily retrieve and put back in the bin or environmentally friendly so that when it falls off the deck into the grass it won't mess with the grass or lawnmower in the summer (so no rocks or gravel).

I've considered rice, feed corn, dried beans, uncooked pasta, etc., but I'm worried that they wouldn't stand up well outdoors. I've searched a bit online, and the only idea that looks even vaguely workable is those decorative glass gems. If I can find them bulk and reasonably priced, they would be fun to dig in and pour, and large enough to just pick the ones that fall out back off the deck and dump them back in. On the other hand, the ones that escape will simply be glass hanging out in the back yard and that doesn't seem wise. I also don't know if they'll get chipped if played with roughly and then be sharp and dangerous to little fingers.

Does anyone have thoughts about the glass gem idea or any other suggestions?


  1. What about plastic colored beads? Also, my kids love coffee beans, flax seed, and pea gravel. We have also started a rock collection like the kind you see at the tourist shops. Little stones, gems etc... we have a shoe box full that they love to play with in their trucks. Also, I put our water talbe, same one as yours, inside the blue plastic baby pool in our house. That way if they spill it lands mostly in the pool and there is still room for them to stand around the table and play. My kids also loved the pool inside with beans last winter. We put our sand toys in it in the kitchen. Sarah

  2. Brilliant Sarah. I love the idea of bringing the table inside the house and just setting it in something for easy cleanup. We don't have a plastic baby pool, so I'll have to figure something else out. Inside, I can put anything I like in the table without having to worry about how it will handle being outdoors. Thanks!

  3. I use the water table in the kitchen with towels that are on their way to be washed lining the floor...during really big snowstorms last year, we used snow...the kids had a blast.

  4. Gentle Blue: What a great idea! You guys have completely convinced me to just bring my water table inside for the winter. The size is reasonable and there are tons of things we can do with it indoors if I'm just creative about where to use it and how to clean up afterwards.

    I love the idea of using the kitchen for wet or messy things because the floor is so easy to clean up in there and access to water isn't a problem either. And dry stuff in a baby pool is a great idea too.

    Thanks for the help!


Web Analytics