Thursday, April 7, 2011

new directions for the sand and water table

If you are a preschool teacher I bet there is a sand and water table in your life. 

Ideal for all manner of sensory play, they get the kids scooping and pouring and filling and emptying to their hearts' content.

But did you know that there are other dimensions to this classroom staple? 

I didn't, until Teacher Tom pointed me in the direction of Tom Sensori and his gem of a blog

Tom shows us how we can enrich play and learning with sand and water tables by creating different orientations, levels, spaces and holes using stuff you have lying around the place like boxes and tape.

We started off with a few basic additions

A tub which fitted beautifully on one end to create another level with which to work, and an old piece of wood with holes in it down the other.

Next came another piece of wood with a big hole in it (a remnant of the play stove we took apart) to act as a divider.

There was lots of transporting from one side of the divider to the other through the hole. 

Although very simple, these additions added another dimension to the children's play which was wonderful to watch.  

Next I plan to get a tad more adventurous and try something along the lines of these dividers.

This is what I love about the big wide world of blogging.  There is so much to learn out there!

Over to you.  Do you have any tips for the sand / water table?


  1. I just found the sand and water blog, too, recently. His ideas are very inspiring.

    It looks like just some simple additions did make quite a difference in the kids' play. I'll be interested in hearing your other adventures in this area, Jenny.

  2. Jenny these are great ideas for any sand table/box! I often get bored at home with my 3 year old - its just dump trucks and loaders in the sand box everyday. I can't wait to bring new ideas to the sandbox this year!

    I'd love for you to link up this post in our new party today - It's Playtime!

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow

  3. Jenny, I really like your adaptation to expand the play in the sensory table. Sometimes the the simple configurations are the most dynamic because the children are the action agents as they make it their own for their own purposes.

    Thanks for the link to my site. It gave me a nice little bump, especially from Australia.

  4. Thanks jenny, thanks tom - a picture tells a thousand words

  5. I LOVE your posts (well, your whole blog really, as I think you know by now!) Thanks so much for linking this up and giving folks an example of truly play-enriching advice. PLease join in again- you have so much to share!

  6. I'm so glad Tom Sensori's blog is being recognised for the genius that it is. I think he has managed to spark a sand tray revolution. Your adaptations are spot on, Jenny.

  7. Isn't it amazing how different play can be when you add something so small as a tub at one end of the sensory table. I knew I liked the idea of adding the different dimensions to the table after reading Tom Sensori's blog, but how quickly it engaged the kids and how long they stayed at the table was amazing. I love his site!! I'm glad you brought it to a wider audience!!

  8. What a neat idea!! Seems like everyone has sand on the brain! We did too!

  9. I was recently given a simple wooden doll house. The children have been loving it so much that I have left it alone so far... I too found that blog a while back through teacher tom and the second I saw the doll house with the hole for stairs, wall dividers, three levels of floors and a hole in the roof as well, the first thing that came to mind was "I want to use this in the sensory table" I'm glad to see you too have found this blog.

  10. It really is the simple things isn't it. It is amazing to provide a canvas for children to work with and just sit back and see what they do. I used to do things like this in my classroom, but I would use different mediums to work with. Sand and water are obvious, but lentils, beans or rice were other favourites! Jade x

  11. Your blog has been inspiring me for quite some time now. Guess what? You have inspired me to open up my own preschool!!! I am so excited and have been busy setting up the classroom carefully with the children in mind.
    THANK YOU!!!

  12. i love this jenny! the possibilities are just endless -- fun with holes!! -- tons of ideas are popping into my head. thank you!