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Help Your Child Explore the World with Sensory Tables

Aug 17, 2007
Do you find yourself constantly telling your toddler "no, don't touch that!" Then you aren't alone.

Toddlers explore their surroundings with their fingers (and their mouths) and it can be difficult at times to find a balance between fun and safety. Which is why sensory tables are an excellent way to not only teach your child, but give them a creative outlet to play and learn more about the world around them.

So what exactly is a sensory tub?

It's a fancy name, for a very simple concept. It is basically just a tub filled with a variety of different items. The tub will keep the material contained, and allow your child to play and experience the different textures and smells associated with the different materials. There are different models that you can buy that have separate containers for water and dry ingredients; some have table legs or chairs attached. But the basic model can be constructed with just a simple plastic tub and a little imagination.
So what can go into a sensory tub?

Just about anything you can think of! Here are some ideas to get you started.

-Live goldfish. You can give the children a few fish nets, and let them have a hand at trying to catch the wiggly little fish. Careful supervision is required to make sure that both toddlers and fish are safe and sound.
-Colored sand. They can practice mixing them together to create new colors.
-Plastic glitter added to both water and sand.
-Ice cubes
-Mix together coffee and sand to create super-sensory sand.
-Cheerios or other types of cereal (great for kids that still put things in their mouths)
-Plain water
-Jell-o
-Pudding
-Packing peanuts or other Styrofoam
-Pumpkin guts
-Corn meal
-Sea shells
-Pasta- dried or cooked
-Leaves (try fresh and crinkly ones)
-Clean mud (mix 1 roll white toilet paper (shredded), 1 bar grated Dove soap (use a cheese grater), and warm water (make the water warm enough to melt the soap), only mix enough water to make it the consistency of thick cool whip. This can be saved in airtight containers for later use
-Easter grass
-Snow
-Shaving cream
-Feathers

The possibilities are endless! Just have a look around your house for items that would make good additions to the sensory tub. And if it's a particularly messy item, make sure to move the tub into the kitchen or backyard.
About the Author
Sarah Jones loves teaching. When she isn't homeschooling her own children, she is busy sharing her love of education with others.
Find a wide assortment of Lesson Plans , crafts for kids, and homeschooling tips at her site, KnowMore.com.
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