The sensory table is always a popular spot in the main preschool room. The open-ended nature of the materials provides the students with unlimited possibilities. It’s one of my favorite spots to observe in the classroom because it often inspires creative and collaborative play.
Currently we have pinto beans in our sensory table but we also fill it with sand, uncooked pasta, corn kernels, flour, and lots of other fun materials. The students frequently like to smush the beans into big piles against the wall or squeeze a big handful of beans through their fingers. In addition to being a lot of fun, this type of play allows the students to experience a variety of sensory inputs from different materials.
Sometimes we also add other toys to the table to inspire different types of activities. Currently we are using cooking items with the beans. This has led to some great pretend play where the table has turned into a muffin shop or a cupcake factory. Because the materials are all in one table, these types of games require the students to talk to one another and work together to solve any problems that arise. Additionally, the students are working on their fine motor skills while pouring with scoops, using math skills to count how many more muffins they need, and having a lot of fun with their peers. As an alternative to cooking items, cars and trucks are a fun addition that often turn the table into a construction site. Adding buried letters to the beans makes a fun literacy scavenger hunt. The possibilities are really endless and so much fun to watch. Come check it out next time you’re in the classroom!