23 October, 2010

Genius idea, a giant find it sensory table!

A few years ago, my husband's and my friend Mark wanted to create a sensory table for his two boys.  He modeled the basic structure after a water table of mine, that I picked up at a rummage sale.  (I know, how excellent a find was that?!?! ) Well, he chose a relatively large plastic storage container as the "holder" and then made a base for it out of wood.  It looked amazing!  For awhile it held rice, then sand, then water, as many sensory tables do.  But here's where it gets really interesting.  He's such a creative person, he thought of making it a sort of "catch-all" table.  It soon held beads, marbles, and whatever else turned up around their house.  Now, a few years on, it has legos, little broken bits of toys, a few pieces of hardware, rubber bands, paper clips, little plastic animals etc.  You name it and it's probably in there!  His two boys (now 6 and 10) still play in it.  I think it must be fairly exciting because they never know what they might find!  After I told my friend Honey about this project, she had a GENIUS idea.  Genius I say!  And so naturally I thought I'd share it with you lovely readers.  Her idea is a sort of giant "find it" sensory table.

You know those "find it" tubes?  They are a pretty great idea.  A seeker must find all the "hidden" objects which are listed on the top of the tube.  Honey suggested we could make a sensory table find it kind of game, with matching photograph cards (that is instead of just a list) for younger children.  Sign me up!  This weekend I will be starting on this project!  First I am going to take my old water table (not the rummage sale one, as that it is use as a dish washing station) and get a new container to fit it.  (The old container failed rather famously, in the form of a giant crack, last year just as a young boy was sailing a toy Mayflower across the "ocean."  Oops.)  Then I will head down to the Teacher's Recycling Center, where I hear a local plastics company donates some little cast off pieces.  My son brought one home after a field trip and they look like they would be perfect for this project!  I will also include

  • pony beads
  • fuse beads
  • marbles
  • buttons
  • TP tubes
  • tape dispenser inserts
  • marker tops
  • and surely many other wonderful items!
Update:  Yesterday, I went to the Teacher's Recycling Center and it was fantastic and so sad at the same time.  The woman who has been running the center told us they hadn't had their grant renewed, so they will be closing the center!  Oh dear!  The good news was that there were still some wonderful resources, and she was happy to let us go through them.  For under $10 I got all this!  

Heavy duty cardboard pieces, craft sticks, no-sew glue, cornstarch, and packaging tie

 Close up of cardboard pieces - bears?  flowers? shields?
 ends of carpet tubes (bigger than my palm)

who knows what these actually are, but whatever they are, they are super cool!

And 5, count them 5!  BIG bags (a bit bigger than paper grocery sacks) of these little beads - for mosaics, the giant "find it" table, and ?

Icy colors

 dark grey with green, white, and pink flecks

light grey, dark grey, pink, and mauve

light grey and teal green

And I also have a bag of shiny black beads (the picture of those is a little too fuzzy to post.)  

Can you stand the fabulousness?  It was so fabulous, I am still giddy the next day!  I will lost more about the "genius giant find it" table in the days to come!


  1. I love it! Such a simple but clever idea. I'm now thinking how to adapt this idea for my classroom and students (I have 1 and 2 year olds... hmm, safety!)
    Please do update this post with pictures when you've completed it!

  2. I'm thinking about doing some of these tubs as Christmas presents for a couple of friends! I am SO excited about them!!! And, I'm seriously thinking about making a "toy pit" with our broken pieces. Thanks for the inspiration!


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