If you don’t already have a water table (or you have no idea what I’m talking about), it’s basically a small pool on stilts. They’re rather inexpensive, and they come in all different shapes and sizes with lots of different features too. Fill it with water and let your littles splash and play on a hot day. But that begs the question – what are you supposed to do with your water table the rest of the year?
I like to think of ours as a giant sensory bin, and I rotate what materials we use based on the season. I always include plenty of scoops, measuring cups, and the like to encourage play. Here are some ideas to get you started and keep your water table in use all year round.
In summer, it’s already hot. And the temperature is guaranteed to keep rising. I try and be as lazy as possible during the summer, so just grab the hose and fill it up! Here’s a few other fun things to try if you’re feeling motivated in the heat:
- Ice (Bonus points for freezing small toys in ice blocks)
- Water Beads
- Dish soap and water
I was not built for Summer, but Fall weather? That’s my favorite! You can get really creative and take nature walks with your kids to gather materials to keep this giant sensory bin stocked with seasonal items. My favorite sensory bin trick is to incorporate scents. I love adding cinnamon sticks and pumpkin spice seasoning to really stimulate the senses.
- Pinecones, leaves, and rocks
- Corn kernels, pinto beans, split peas, rice, and/or pasta
- Hay, small gourds, and pumpkins
- Oatmeal, cinnamon sticks, and whole apples
Since we don’t live in an area that gets snow, I highly recommend making some of your own and letting the kids play. If that sounds too messy (and cold), grab some other “snow like” materials and create your own pretend winter wonderland.
- Snow in a can (bonus points for adding food coloring)
- Cotton balls, paper snowflakes
- Red and green pom poms, candy canes, and bells
- Epsom salt (bonus points for adding food coloring)
- Curly ribbons, small bows, and small boxes
As soon as Spring has sprung, start thinking about putting the water table back outside. Maybe even let the kids dig in the dirt and plant their own pretend gardens.
- Dirt and fake flowers, fruits, and/or vegetables
- Plastic eggs with surprises inside
- Green shredded paper and fake flowers
- Water balloons (because Summer will be here soon enough)