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Sensory Table Activities for Toddlers

sensory toddlers


Sensory tables can be a lot of fun for preschoolers; however, you can’t always use the same materials in a toddler sensory table as you would in a preschool sensory table.  Common sensory table fillers like popcorn, rice, and packing peanuts are choking hazards to toddlers.  So, let’s take a look at some appropriate sensory table fillers and activities for toddlers.


Sensory Table Fillers for Toddlers


Besides the obvious – sand or water – here are some safe sensory table fillers:


Large Pom-Pom Balls
Items from Nature
Crinkled Paper
Taste-Safe Mud
Shaving Cream

Sensory Table Activities for Toddlers


Here are some ideas for sensory table fun:


Hide and Seek in Bubble Foam – Make Bubble Foam with this recipe.  Hide objects (toy cars, foam letters, etc.) in the bubble foam, and let children find the objects.


Car Wash – Provide soapy water and let children wash the toy cars.  (You can also do an Animal Wash or Wash Dishes).


Rainbow Spaghetti – Cook spaghetti.  Once drained and cooled, add a small (very small) amount of oil and toss.  Add a few drops of food coloring and mix well.  Lay spaghetti out on parchment paper to dry for about 1 hour.  Put in sensory table for enjoyment!


Gardening Sensory Table – Include potting soil, child friendly gardening tools, plastic pots, pretend flowers – allow children to work with the tools to dig, fill pots, etc.  Best if used outside.

Photo Source: www.mamapapabubba.com


Fruit Loop Color Sorting and Play – Fill sensory table with fruit loops and provide cups for children to sort by color.  Also include spoons, shovels, bowls, etc.

Photo Source: www.theresourcefulmama.com



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National Button Day Activities for Children

button activities

There are a lot of things that you can do with buttons (besides wear them!).  Children can use buttons for sorting, patterning, fine motor activities, art, and much more.


Here are some button activities for National Button Day on November 16:


  • Put buttons in the sensory table.
  • Put buttons in the sand table and use colanders, sand sifters, or slotted spoons (with thin slots) to scoop out the buttons.
  • Make button rubbings.  Place puzzle pieces under a sheet of paper. Using the side of a crayon, rub the buttons.
  • Who’s Wearing Buttons? Ask children to look at their clothes and see if they have any buttons.  Have the children count the number of buttons that they are wearing.  Make a graph of how many buttons each child is wearing.
  • Make a picture frame and have children glue buttons on it.  Put children’s pictures in their frame for a parent gift.

Other Ideas:

button activities     button activities


button activities     

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About National Button Day:

(from NationalDayCalendar.com)


National Button Day is observed annually on November 16. Founded in 1938, the National Button Society recognized button collecting as an organized hobby. Both novice and advanced button collectors celebrate the enjoyment collecting on this day.


Do you remember your grandmother or your mother snipping the buttons off shirts that were headed for the rag basket and then collecting them in jars? Maybe you even played games or strung them for ornaments and crafts.  The buttons were fun to stack into piles, sort by color or size, or scatter/slide across the floor or table making up different games each time.


Crafters across the country utilize buttons in creative ways and are some of the best at finding new uses for old items. There are thousands of button collectors in the United States.



Use #NationalButtonDay to post on social media.

Gardening Prop Box

gardening prop box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out a Gardening Prop Box in the spring (especially during National Lawn and Garden Month – April).  It is easy to put together a Gardening Prop Box.


Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Put some potting soil in the your sensory table and let kids use the props to grow pretend or real flowers and vegetables.  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.


Gardening Tools
Watering Can Gardening Gloves
Flower Pots
Pretend Flowers
Plastic Vegetables
Flower Seeds
Vegetable Seeds
Plastic Worms


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Sensory Table Fillers


Sensory Tables are great fun for children and they get to learn through hands-on experimenting.  Changing the fillers in the sensory table every couple weeks will keep children’s attention and interest, plus it gives them something new to experiment with.  Here is a list of ideas for filling your sensory table:

Split Peas
Colored Rice
Water Beads
Pom Pom Balls
Aquarium Rocks
Colored Craft Sand
Bird Seed
Packing Peanuts
Cotton Balls

A sensory table (or bin) gives children the opportunity to explore the world around them by experimenting, manipulating, observing and exploring.  Sensory tables provide children with fine and gross motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, math skills, science skills, and communication skills. Because sensory play is mostly self-directed, it also helps children develop self-esteem.

Here are 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial (thank you Homeschoolin’ Mama):

  1. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
  2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
  3. This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
  4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
  5. This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)

More Sensory Table Resources: