Winter is quickly approaching, and so is the season where we as moms rack our pretty little brains looking for something to keep the “Mom, I’m so BORED” at bay while we’re stuck indoors. There are only so many trips to the library one mom can take, and endless hours of television are just out of the question. (I said endless hours, not all hours. I’m not insane.) So what can you do for your little one to keep them occupied AND educated while not spending a ton of money?
Sensory table to the rescue. In case you are unfamiliar, a sensory table is just a stationary place where kids can play and explore while practicing tasks such as fine motor skills, sorting and exploration. Bonus: They are easy and extremely inexpensive to make!
Things You Will Need
- Large, shallow tupperware (or cheap plastic) container. The type you would use to store objects under your bed.
- Beans and/or rice that can be purchased for cheap in bulk.
- Funnels (dollar store).
- Straws (dollar store).
- Sand toys (dollar store).
- Measuring cups (dollar store).
- Spoons (dollar store).
- Sifter/strainer (dollar store).
After you have all your supplies together, it’s time to get crafty. I like to put beans on one side and rice on the other. Just the visual of the two mixing seems so interesting to my 3-year-old daughter. We also make a game out of it where we get big cups and see how much we can separate again. (This is awesome for building fine motor skills in toddlers!)
There’s so much you can do at this point from separating, to sorting, to making rattles and watching the grains of rice slip through the strainer; all of it will be a whole new and interesting world to your toddler.
And during the summer I like to pour all the beans/rice out into a giant plastic zip bag (to keep it dry and bug free) and then fill the container with water adding in about 10 drops of food coloring so make it more visible and more fun to play with.
There you have it–a super easy and super inexpensive way to make a fun and educational toy for your child!
P.S. I am always looking for new things to add to our sensory table. As you can see the kitchen supply section of the Dollar Store is my first stop, but don’t neglect the automotive section where you can find great funnels and such.