Your child has been learning through their senses since the day they were born: differentiating the sound of your voice from the bark of your family dog, grasping their bottle, mirroring the facial expressions of those around them — these are all examples of sensory skills that develop over time. And although these abilities develop naturally overtime, things like specific toys and sensory tables can help fine tune them along the way.
If “sensory table” sounds like something out of a preschool classroom to you, that’s because it is. Sensory tables are designated areas for children to strengthen their social, cognitive and fine-motor skills; pick up new vocabulary; and explore their creativity through interactive play. Through hands-on activities like digging through sand, beads, rice, splashing water and building blocks, the following play centers are meant to stimulate all five of your child’s developing senses.
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1. Simplay3 In and Out Activity Table
For sensory play year round, Simplay3’s table can live outside during the warm weather and moved inside during the winter. The In and Out Activity Table is a must for playrooms and patios alike as it can be transformed from a snacking spot into a sand and water or activity play center in seconds. It features two plastic slide-out bins to store toys or fill with sand, water, rice or beads, plus a reversible table top to match your child’s needs.
2. Children’s Factory Large Sensory Table
Not every child enjoys structured playtime: some kids just like the free range of a table full of sand they can dig their hands into. The Children’s Factory sensory table is a no-frills activity center that’s essentially one big tub on steel legs that can be filled with anything and everything from water to sand. Fill it up and add a few special tools to the mix like toy dump trucks, pails and shovels, and let your child explore.
3. Whitney Brothers Wooden Mobile Sensory Table
The Whitney Brothers wooden sensory table is not only a great play center for kids, it’s also a gorgeous piece of furniture for your playroom. Best for older kids looking to explore more than just water and sand, the table includes four clear, removable trays with matching lids that can be filled up with virtually anything you (or your child) would like. This sensory table also comes with two shelves below the trays for extra storage, a feature parents will appreciate.