Tag Archives: Sand tables

Sensory Play Fun with Household Items

sensory play wit household items_1_

What do dried beans, play balls and rice have in common? They are all household items that can be played with in your kid’s water or sand tables to help foster sensory play!

From an early age it is important that children experience different types of play in order to help them develop and gain skills they will use as they get older. One of those play types is sensory, which encourages kids to use one or more of their senses such as touching, smelling, seeing, hearing or tasting. According to PBS.org, sensory play encourages kids to develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.

Below are some fun sensory activities that include your child’s sand or water table and common household products (please note, if your child is under the age of 3, do not allow your child to play with small sensory items that may post a choking hazard):

Dry Beans Sensory Table:

dry beans

We brought the Wild Whirlpool Water Table inside and placed dry beans to create the perfect sensory experience for little ones. Kids can scoop up beans and place them in the funnel just like they would when this kid’s activity table is filled with water. Now when it is too cold to play outside, you can bring the fun inside and fill this kid’s activity table up with beans!

Tub of Balls:

tub of balls

Grab any type of small play balls you can find lurking around your child’s playroom or bedroom. They can be ping pong balls, tiny bouncy balls, Wiffle balls, ect. – adding all of these different types of balls to the Duck Pond Water Table will make for an exciting and unique sensory adventure. You can slide the balls down the slide, catapult them off the slide flipper and swirl the variety of balls around with the center spinner. Your kids will have a bouncing good time with a water table filled with balls!

Rice Table:

rice table
This is another great sensory activity to do inside when it is too cold or rainy outside to play with sand or water! Kids can enjoy digging, scooping and building with rice to create castles just like they do with sand. Little ones will be intrigued by the feeling of the sand as it slips through their little fingers. We used the Sand Castle Play Table for this rice activity.

Sensory play activities can be as messy or clean as you want them to be! The original intent of these activity tables is to be played with outside and filled with water or sand. However, when teaching kids about their senses adding different materials such as beans, pasta, rice and balls can help children to better understand sight and touch. There are also plenty of other materials you and your family can use in these activity tables such as: cotton balls, flour, shaving cream, cooked noodles, beads, pebbles, coins or craft pom pom balls.

Have you created your own sensory table before? If so – what have you used to create this experience for your kids?

Step2 always recommends adult supervision during sensory playtime.

Spring into Play With Step2’s New 2014 Toys

Products provide hours of creative outdoor fun all season long

STREETSBORO, Ohio – February 12, 2014 – Spring is in the air and the Step2 Company is delivering new products that will make little ones eager to play outside. From new water and sand tables to climbers and light-up basketball sets, Step2’s new spring line is designed to enrich imaginations and expand creativity.

“Since day one, our mission has been to develop safe, top-notch products that allow children to explore, discover, create, pretend and build greater social skills.  Our new products stay true to this mission,” explains Jerry McDermott, Step2’s chief marketing officer. “Step2 toys are focused on helping kids develop what they need to be healthy and happy contributors to our world.”

With features that encourage simple play and complex learning, Step2’s newest spring products nurture the mind, body and heart of children. Water and sand tables offer updated features for open water play that stimulate the senses and encourage imaginative play. Step2®’s newest climbers, playhouses and light-it-up basketball sets promote physical activity and multi-kid play!

Step2 is turning up the fun and helping children build social and motor skills with these new toys that create enjoyable play experiences for everyone.

  • Wild Whirlpool Water Table™: Imagine the adventures children will encounter with this water table.  The power of the spinning wheel creates a water vortex that takes children to a wet and wild world that includes sea creatures and a boat. (MSRP $39.99)
  • Water Works Water Table™: Children will watch and explore the workings of chain reactions while having fun with the Water Works Water Table™. Water pours through the center funnel and filters into various outlets allowing children to use the accessories to carve new paths for the water. (MSRP $39.99; Target Exclusive)
  • Duck Pond Water Table™: This playful water table will turn your backyard into a day at the park. Children will laugh in delight as they take turns sending the ducks down the slide and launching the frog into the pond! (MSRP $34.99)
  • High Seas Adventure Sand & Water Table with Umbrella™: Imaginations will run wild as children take on a high-seas sailing adventure with this new sand and water table. Kids will take turns powering the water-propelled ship while sending the pirate figures off the plank! (MSRP $69.99)
  • Sand Castle Play Table™: Build sand castles right in your backyard with this play table. The elevated sand table provides hours of creative fun all season long allowing children to develop fine motor skills to dig, build and knock down their sand creations! (MSRP $39.99; Target Exclusive)

With spring ushering in warm weather, climbers and playhouses are sure to be provide an environment that encourages physical activity while inspiring imaginative play!

  • The Alpine Ridge Climber and Slide™ (MSRP $299.99; Toys“R”Us Exclusive) is the perfect climber for active kids who enjoy climbing wall adventures. The five climbing walls complete with grips, holes and steps to assist your climber will promote coordination, balance and strength during active play!
  • Meanwhile, children will be in awe as they roll the colorful balls through the zig-zag maze into the ball pit on the Play Ball Fun Climber™ (MSRP $99.99). The Great Outdoors Playhouse™ (MSRP $199.99; Toys“R”Us Exclusive) features a large open floor plan for all-around play. Complete with working water pump and paddle wheel, grill, mail slot, bird house and flower box, this playhouse will have your kids eager to move in!

Additionally, Step2 is introducing two new basketball sets.  Kids will want to show off their skills in front of mom and dad as they elevate their game and take it to the hoop with the Light-It-Up Junior Basketball Set™ (MSRP $49.99) and Light-It-Up Pro Basketball Set™ (MSRP $59.99) available at Toys“R”Us stores and online. Featuring a large backboard, electronic light-up rainbow rim with sound, real woven net and expandable rim and pole, these basketball sets support gross motor skill development and are designed to grow with your child.

Made in America and backed by a three-year warranty, the new spring products are available for purchase at Step2.com and select retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys”R”Us. For more information, visit www.Step2.com.

 

Introducing Your Children to Water Activities

Children love to play in water. Some take to it faster than others, splashing in the bathtub even before they can sit up on their own. For others water play is an acquired taste, but it is one more opportunity to learn and experience the world around them.

Playing in the sand is also popular with toddlers and preschoolers, and playing with sand and water together can open up whole new worlds to young children who can use these simple materials as a means to fuel their imagination and explore their world.

Traditionally, small children have been introduced to sand and water play through sandboxes. Many parents may even remember playing in the sandbox themselves, but sitting in the sand, especially with other children still in diapers may not be the most hygienic choice for playing in the sand.

Instead, children can play at a sand and water table and get all the benefits older generations had in the sandbox without the increased risk of bladder infections or other health issues. While some precautions can be taken, standing at a sand and water table is a healthier choice and just as much fun.

Sand and water tables come in a variety of different styles with different levels of functionality. A sand and water table can be simply elevated sandbox, or full-fledged activity center toy. Children can use features such as a waterwheel, shovels, buckets, spoons, and molds for hours of fun.

Sand and water play can help develop both fine and large motor skills, a sense of balance, and help build social skills. It’s also been shown to have a calming effect on preschoolers- something any caregiver can appreciate from time to time.

Parents and caregivers can get in on the fun too, as they help toddlers pour water throughout the water wheel or dig rivers in the sand. However, after very little guidance, children are likely to take over with their own ideas on how to get the most fun out of their activity center toy.

Whether they are using this as a backyard toy or it as part of a daycare environment children will love playing at their sand and water table. It provides the right blend of imagination and structure to help children develop important skills, while at the same time they are simply enjoying themselves. And isn’t that what childhood is all about?