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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:

 

Fabric
Sandpaper
Large Pom-Pom Balls
Oatmeal
Items from Nature
Crinkled Paper
Taste-Safe Mud
Shaving Cream
Gelatin


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

 


 

Amazon Picks and Resources:

 

20 Pre-K Conversation Starters

Conversation Starters encourage children to talk about themselves.  Talking to children is important, especially when you are trying to get to know them.  Young children develop speech and language skills, as well as listening skills when engaged in a conversation.  As a child care provider and educator, use these conversations starters during circle time, meal and snack times, or whenever you feel like getting to know the children in your care.

Here are 20 conversations starters to get children talking…

  1. Do you have any pets? What kind do you have?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. What did you do last night?
  4. What learning center do you like the best? Why?
  5. What is your favorite book?
  6. Do you like the water table or sand table better? Why?
  7. Who brought you to school/daycare today?  What do you like best about them?
  8. Who are the people you live with?
  9. What is your favorite food to have as a snack?
  10. Do you like coloring or painting better?
  11. What is the best thing about today?
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  13. If you could paint our classroom, what color paint would you choose?
  14. How do you feel today?
  15. Describe someone in this room using three words.
  16. What is your favorite thing to do at school/daycare?
  17. What is something that makes you happy?
  18. Would you rather play inside or play outside all day?
  19. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  20. What does your bedroom look like?

Download a free printable with these conversations starters.  You can cut and laminate them into cards for when you want to use them.  Click Here to get your download.

conversation starters for pre-K


Some other conversation resources:

25 Ways to move like an animal

Having children move like animals, especially while transitioning from one activity to the next, is a great way to encourage activity and keep kids on their toes.  Here are 25 ways to move like an animal to challenge children.  Instead of simply having kids get in line to go outside, ask them to gallop like a horse to the line.

  1. Bounce like a puppy.ways to move like an animal
  2. Climb like a koala bear.
  3. Crawl like a turtle.
  4. Fly like a bird.
  5. Gallop like a horse.
  6. Glide like a goose.
  7. Hop like a bunny.
  8. Jump like a kangaroo.
  9. Leap like a frog.
  10. March like an ant.
  11. Pounce like a cat.
  12. Run like a cheetah.
  13. Scamper like a squirrel.
  14. Scurry like a mouse.
  15. Scuttle like a crab.
  16. Slither like a snake.
  17. Stomp like an elephant.
  18. Strut like a rooster.
  19. Swim like a fish.
  20. Swing like an ape.
  21. Swoop like an eagle. 
  22. Trot like a donkey.
  23. Waddle like a penguin.
  24. Walk tall like a giraffe.
  25. Wiggle like a worm.

Benefits of Movement

Encouraging movement in early childhood has so many benefits for children.  In addition to creating healthy habits and fostering a lifelong commitment to physical activity, children whose early childhood education is based in movement enjoy the following benefits in both early childhood and for the rest of their lives:

  • Better social and motor skill development
  • Increased school readiness skills
  • Building developing muscles, bones, and joints faster
  • Reducing fat and lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing depression and anxiety
  • Increased learning capacity
  • Developing healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills
  • Building strength, self-confidence, concentration, and coordination from an early age

(excerpt from The Importance of Early Childhood Activity)