Most small children love messy fun. Most parents prefer neat fun. A simple DIY sensory table is the best of both worlds.
To make your own sensory table, take a rectangular plastic container, such as an under-the-bed storage box, and place it on a low table. Fill it with a medium that children will enjoy playing in, such as pebbles, sand, water or rice. At this point, you can add a few toys and just let the kids go,
If you’d like to create a game with a bit more structure, add foam fish to water and give the kids small kitchen sieves and bowls. Using the sieves, the kids can scoop up the fish and deposit them in the bowls. If you assign colors, the kids can learn colors along with fine motor skills.
Another option is to give kids little pitchers and a tub of sand, or a melon baller with a tub of floating beads (choke proof for small children). The kids can use melon ball scoops to pluck up floating beads, or little pitchers to pour sand into colored bottle. If you keep the color, variety and encouragement coming, this is sure to be a favorite activity.