Here’s a quick and easy, yet fascinating , activity for your sensory table. (Find how to make your own here.) Inside the table, place two smaller containers. (I used the shoebox size storage containers here.) Fill one box with water. You may want to add a little coloring to make the water more visible as it moves. Leave the other box empty. Provide a variety of tools including scoops in varying sizes, funnels, basters and eye-droppers, and clear tubing (available at hardware stores).
One of my very favorite sensory tools is created by inserting a funnel into the tubing. You may want to do this yourself, or see if the children come up with the idea! With a variety of materials present, ask the children how they can move the water from one container to the other. As they experiment, talk with them about how the water moves and its other properties. Also talk about the various tools. Use their names, and compare their sizes and the amounts of water they are able to move (math). Challenge them to use more tools or a combination of tools by simply saying, “How would you use ____ to move the water over?” Using the tools improves fine motor skills as well as increases science knowledge as they experiment with how they work. There’s just something about water that invites little ones to explore! So follow their lead and discover something new about water as it moves!