The end of summer is coming…much too fast if you ask me! You might be tempted to put your water table away until next year, but don’t! You can put it to use year round with these amazing small worlds and sensory play ideas. Not only are small worlds a lot of fun, they also provide kids with the opportunity to engage in sensory play, act out facts they are learning in their preschool curriculum, and develop storytelling skills through pretend play.
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We love our Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table, and we use it all of the time. All of the small worlds I’m sharing today were created in a Step2 water table. Unfortunately this exact style is no longer made, but I really like the Cascading Cove water table option as an alternative. Of course, they could also be set up in a similar bin or water table.
Penguin Small World Play (Thrive 360 Living)
Reptile Small World Sensory Play (Twodaloo)
Tropical Island Water Table (Craftulate)
Ocean Sensory Table (Stir the Wonder)
Frog Life Cycle Sensory Bin (Coffee Cups and Crayons)
Beach Play (The Boy and Me)
Building Site (The Boy and Me)
Winter Rice Sensory Box (Pink and Green Mama)
Dinosaur Small World (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
Beach Small World (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
More Ideas for Playing in the Water Table
Not sure you’ll use a water table? Asia from Fun at Home with Kids shares why you want a water table and 10 creative ways to use it.
My Nearest and Dearest has even more ideas for sensory fun in the water table.
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Where is this table from? I love the different levels.
We love the levels too! We got ours on Amazon. The direct link is at the top of the post. Currently it says the table is unavailable, but they may replenish it soon or there are similar ones shown on the page.
Thank you for this post!
I absolutely love these! Can I ask what age you set these up for? I teach 2-3 year olds and I worry there would just be a lot of dumping back and forth instead of pretend play. What has your experience been?
I’ve used them with older twos and definitely with threes. I think the key is to first introduce some very simple bins and teach your expectations…ie, can they dump out? If so, what happens (the bin is empty and we can’t play anymore). Help them see the value in keeping things in the bin and that should help a bit. Of course there will always be some bits the fall out and such, but just plan for that. Some teachers keep small handheld dustpans for kids to use to clean up any fallen pieces during clean up time.
And I do find that kids will play at their developmental level. So younger kids will explore with pouring and dumping and older kids will dive more into pretend play. I also find the longer the bin is out for kids to explore the deeper involved they get into different pretend play scenarios.
What a wonderful idea! thank you.
planing to do it with my little one today 🙂
Thank you for featuring my small worlds!
So glad to include them! I love your creative ideas 🙂
What a beautiful collection of small worlds! Thanks for adding ours. I just love them all!
Thanks for sharing your creativity!!
Jessica @ Play Trains!
Oh, this is such a great list! I think I’m going to have to drag ours out and get the kiddo to scrub it down. 🙂
Yes, do! My girls think washing the bin is part of the fun 😉
Omg. What great ideas!
Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest
I love all your small worlds, Shaunna! You create such beautiful and inspiring play invitations.
Thanks for linking to us. 🙂
Thanks, Ann! I have to say you’re a big source of inspiration, so thank you!
Love all the ideas! Pinned it!
So glad! Thank you!