We've been stuck inside with the freezing weather, so I had to delve into my "teacher bag of tricks" to occupy Rose this week. She's been climbing and dumping things out a lot (toddler favorites), so I decided I needed something that would keep her attention for awhile. I find the number one type of activity for keeping a toddler's attention span for more than a minute is a good sensory experience. You have all of the tools for sensory table right in your home.
I used Rose's old bath tub for the container, but you can use any kind of bucket, basket, etc, provided you make sure your toddler can reach into it. Place it on the floor--not the carpet, unless your vacuum is plugged in and ready to go! Then all you need is your sensory material--corn meal, flour, dry pasta, uncooked rice, anything that you can dump into the container! Next, add some large utensils and smallish containers to allow your child to explore the properties of the sensory material.
Feel free to add in some unusual items like whisks or plastic Easter eggs. I like to use the printing stamps above with flour, so that Rose can make imprints of the pictures in it.
Don't forget to reuse & recycle! You can use the same container your corn meal came in--just mark it "for play." I like to add salt and water to my flour when we're done, so we can have cheap, home-made playdough! The play dough below is plain, but if you add food coloring to your water before you add it, you can make colors! (I generally add about as much salt as I have flour, then I add water cup by cup until it's damp. I knead it together--if it's too dry add a bit more water, if it's too wet add a bit more flour. Easy!)
Then I store it in an old wipes container to keep it fresh:
Believe me...this is quick, cheap, easy, and simple to clean up (I am the suck at home mom, after all.) It will also keep your little one occupied for a long time! Don't be discouraged if your little one doesn't like one texture--mine hates "sticky"--just try a different material next time!