How to Build a Sensory Table

Creating a sensory table for your little one is a fun and creative way to expand their learning opportunities while also giving them an outlet for exploration and expression. By having access to materials they can touch, manipulate, observe, experiment with, or even just look at, children are able to develop important motor skills as well as cognitive development.

How to Build a Sensory Table

They will learn along the way how to problem solve and use all five senses – touching different textures, smelling items in the tray, tasting food that crosses the table’s path – so it’s essential you provide these kinds of experiences for kids! In this blog post we cover every step of how to build a sensory table — from budgeting for supplies to assembly—so read on to find out more information!

What is Sensory Table?

A sensory table is a fun, interactive way for kids to explore their environment. This special piece of furniture is designed to provide a safe and stimulating environment where children can learn through hands-on activities. It consists of an open-top tray, often about the size of a low table or a child’s play table, filled with items such as sand, water, rice, or beans.

Supplies Needed

When creating a sensory table for your little one, the most important thing is to make sure that you pick safe materials that they can interact with and explore without risk of harming themselves. Here are some supplies you will need when building a sensory table:

  • Tray or Container (an Old Plastic Storage Bin Works Great!)
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Pebbles or Rocks
  • Items for exploration such as shells, feathers, and leaves.
  • Paintbrushes and sponges (optional)

10 Step-by-step Instructions on How to Build a Sensory Table

Step 1: Select a Container That’s the Right Size for Your Child

A plastic storage bin or old Tupperware container works great for this project. This will serve as the base of your sensory table. It’s important to make sure it is the right size for your child so they can easily access and use the materials inside. If the container is too tall, they may not be able to reach the items inside.

Old Tupperware Container Works Great

Step 2: Choose a Location

Once you have the container, select an area in your home or yard that’s easy for your child to access. This could be the corner of their bedroom, a spot in the living room, or even outside on the patio. It’s important that the location is comfortable and safe for your child to use. This is the area where they will be able to explore and play.

Step 3: Fill Your Container With Materials

Now it’s time to start adding items to the container. Make sure to choose materials that are safe and won’t pose any risk to your child such as sand, water, rice, beans, pebbles or rocks, little shells, feathers or leaves. Don’t forget about paintbrushes and sponges if you want to add those too!

Step 4: Place Items Into the Container

Once you’ve gathered all of the materials, start adding them to the container. Make sure to place items in different depths and textures so your child can explore and interact with them more effectively. This step is also a great chance to talk with your child about the materials they’re using and encourage them to ask questions.

Step 5: Let Your Child Experiment!

Now that you have a sensory table set up, it’s time for your little one to have some fun! Encourage them to use their hands to feel different textures, scoop sand or water into cups or buckets, and move objects around. They might also enjoy pouring small amounts of material from one container to another – an activity that will help develop hand-eye coordination.

Scoop Sand or Water Into Cups or Buckets

Step 6: Supervise Children at All Times

Although most materials are safe for your little one to explore, always make sure to supervise them while they’re playing with the sensory table. It’s also important to ensure that no items are too small for them to put into their mouths, as these can be a choking hazard.

But with a bit of supervision and guidance, your child will have a great time exploring the sensory table and learning all about the world around them.

Step 7: Add and Remove Materials Regularly

When children are done exploring a certain material, they may need something new to keep them engaged. Make sure to rotate different materials regularly so they don’t get bored with the same items. So if you’re adding sand one week, switch it up with rice or beans the next!

Step 8: Clean Up the Sensory Table After Each Use

Once your child is finished playing with the sensory table, it’s important to clean up any mess that has been made and put all of the materials back into their appropriate containers. This will help ensure that everything stays organized and in its place after each use. It also serves as a great teaching tool, as children can learn to clean up after themselves and keep their play area tidy.

Step 9: Dispose of Old Materials

If any materials become moldy or broken, it’s important to dispose of them right away. Make sure to regularly check the condition of each material and replace it if needed. This will help ensure that your child is playing with safe, high-quality materials each time they use the sensory table. Otherwise, it could be a hazard to their health and safety.

Step 10: Have Fun!

Above all else, have fun with your sensory table! This is a great way for children to learn and explore their environment in a safe and creative way. With this being said, make sure to keep it engaging by changing up the materials or adding new items as needed.

Engaging by Changing Up the Materials or Adding New Items

Always keep supervision and guidance close by, and your little one will have a blast. However, as always, make sure to practice safety first and foremost.

Following the steps on how to build a sensory table above will help you create an exciting and safe sensory table for your little one! Be sure to supervise them at all times, keep them well-maintained, and have fun!

Happy exploring!

Do You Need to Hire a Professional?

No, you don’t need to hire a professional to build a sensory table for your child. With the supplies and instructions listed in this blog post, you can easily make one at home. However, if you find yourself having difficulty with any of the steps or have further questions about sensory play, we recommend seeking advice from an experienced professional.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of building a sensory table will depend on the materials you choose to use. In general, most supplies can be found at your local hardware store or online for a reasonable price. You may also need to purchase additional items such as paintbrushes and sponges, but these won’t cost more than a few dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Materials Should I Include in My Sensory Table?

A: Some materials you can include are sand, water, rice, beans, pebbles or rocks, shells, feathers and leaves. Paintbrushes and sponges are also optional items to add for a bit of extra fun!

Paintbrushes and Sponges Are Also Optional Items

Q: How Often Should I Change Up the Materials?

A: We recommend changing up the materials in your sensory table every couple of weeks to keep it engaging for your little one. This can help prevent boredom and encourage exploration.

Q: Is a Sensory Table Safe for My Child?

A: Yes! As long as you use safe materials that aren’t too small or sharp, and supervise your child while they are playing with the table, there is no reason why it wouldn’t be safe. However, if you have any doubts or concerns, we recommend consulting an experienced professional.

Q: What Other Benefits Do a Sensory Table Have?

A: A sensory table helps to promote physical, cognitive and social development in young children. It also encourages creativity, problem-solving and imaginative play which can help improve their motor skills.

Additionally, a sensory table provides an opportunity for your child to explore different textures and materials which can be beneficial for developing their senses.


Creating a sensory table is an inexpensive and time-efficient project that can bring countless hours of imaginative play for your child. With a few simple items, you and your little one can have plenty of opportunities to explore colors, textures, sounds, shapes, sizes, heights, and densities of everyday objects.

After some creative brainstorming, and maybe even some help from friends or siblings, the possibilities are truly limitless.

There’s nothing quite like watching your kid develop better coordination while having fun at the same time! Don’t forget to take pictures—the memories will last long after the sensory table has been dismantled.

So let’s equip our children with an engaging and stimulating activity today; you won’t regret investing in a DIY sensory table! Thanks for reading this article on how to build a sensory table.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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