Sensory Centers 101

The sensory table in my classroom is always a favorite of my students and a great companion to math, science, and literacy development as well! As children are able to experiement, discover, solve, estimate, explore and more, understanding of mathematical and science concepts are developed. When academic tasks are combined are placed in the sensory mix, students can expand even there literacy development.

Sensory tables are also a great place to develop cooperation, team-work, and social interactions as together students estimate, problem solve, and experiment.


What to Fill The Table With


Beads

Beads

Bird Seed

Bird Seed

Bubbles

Bubbles

Cooked Pasta

Cooked Pasta

Dish Soap

Dish Soap

Dinosaur Dig

Dinosaur Dig

Gemstones

Gemstones

Jewelry

Jewelry

Ooblick (Cornstarch & Water

Ooblick (Cornstarch & Water

Pebbles

Pebbles

Play Dough

Play Dough

Rice

Rice

Sand

Sand

Shredded Paper

Shredded Paper

Soapy Water

Soapy Water

Spider Rings

Spider Rings

Worms

Worms

Yarn

Yarn

Beans

Beans

Bottle Caps

Bottle Caps

Buttons

Buttons

Corn  

Corn

 

Dirt

Dirt

Dry Pasta

Dry Pasta

Ice Cubes

Ice Cubes

 
Memory Foam (Scrap Pieces

Memory Foam (Scrap Pieces

Pinecones

Pinecones

Pom Poms

Pom Poms

Plants

Plants

Rocks

Rocks

Seeds

Seeds

Snow (Real or Instant)

Snow (Real or Instant)

Slush

Slush

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Wet Torn Newspaper

Wet Torn Newspaper


Tools For Exploration


Add into any sensory tables tools to further experimentation. I love to add measuring cups, measuring spoons, funnels, spoons, whips, rubber spatulas or other kitchen tools. Hoses, sifters, tweezers, or about anything else that makes sense with the property of the sensory table content.

 

To add an literacy twist to the table, add some magnetic letters or even sight word cards that have been laminated. You can add the plastic letters to either a wet or dry substance. I save the laminated cards for dry substances.

For a holiday flair, add some scent to the contents. I LOVE apple scented rice with small plastic apples in it. Throw in some alphabet letters and tweezers and you have a great literacy center game.

At Halloween, multi-colored beans with small plastic halloween novelty toys along with tweezers and other tools is alway a favorite.

And my students never get enough of the Arctic that we build with ice, snow, and plastic polar animals.

With sensory tables you are only limited by your own imagination (and the tolerance of your custodian). But if you train your students how to care for the contents, other than a few accidental spills, clean-up should be worry free.

If you want to get started with a sensory table in your classroom but you don't have an official one, simply purchase a plastic tote, fill it up with something and let the learning begin!