Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Sensory Table Idea with Water Beads

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Do I have hyperlexia? Is my child hyperlexic? Take the free online hyperlexia quiz today!

Looking for winter sensory bins for preschoolers? Try this water beads sensory bin on (or off) the light table. You'll love this simple winter sensory table idea!

When we were building our light table, I wanted to ensure it was waterproof so that we could use water, water beads, and other messy materials without worrying about damaging our table. 

I was also looking forward to using our DIY light table to add an extra sensory element to sensory bins, something our tiny light box failed to do, at least on a large scale like this. 

Well, I finally got around to doing both of those things - something messy and some kind of sensory bin - on the light table. And it was awesome!  

The result is this winter sensory bin with water beads and snowflakes.

Water beads sensory bin on a light sensory table

Winter Sensory Table Idea: What You'll Need

For this winter themed water beads sensory bin, you'll need:

  • Blue water beads, chilled in the freezer ahead of time
  • Dollar store snowflake shapes (foam, acrylic, or similar)
  • Permanent marker to label the snowflakes with letters (optional)
  • Light table (optional)
Fill a large plastic container with water beads and pop it into the freezer for a little bit, just long enough to add a chill to the water beads. We're trying to create winter in a box here!

Once the water beads are chilly to the touch, I added some dollar store snowflakes. I used a combination of foam snowflakes in dark blue, light blue, and white, as well as these really cool acrylic mirror snowflakes. I wrote uppercase letters on each of the mirror snowflakes using a permanent marker to sneak in a bit of extra learning. Or, in our case, to appeal to the hyperlexic kid.

Winter sensory bin with water beads and snowflakes

Blue Water Beads + A Light Table = Perfect Winter Sensory Table Idea for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Since we're all about light table activities at the moment, I put this sensory bin on top of the light table. And, boy oh boy, does it look pretty when you turn on the light.

Water beads light sensory table activity

This sensory bin was so inviting that little hands just couldn't wait to dive in!

Winter sensory bin on the light table

And there's just something about water beads. They are so relaxing. Even I love swishing my hands through water beads because I find it so calming. Even my super-busy-never-stops-moving toddler K slows down and plays quietly and contently whenever the water beads come out for playtime.

Toddler playing with a winter themed water beads sensory bin on a light table

Both boys loved this sensory bin, spending hours (no exaggeration either!) scooping and pouring the water beads from various cups, pointing to and identifying letters, and so much more. They happily - and quietly - played side by side. It was both wonderful and kind of eerie to watch.

Preschool sensory bin inspired by winter and filled with water beads and snowflakes

J also spent some time counting individual water beads and placing them into a small cup. Of course he did. Numbers are kind of his thing (see: hypernumeracy).

Counting water beads on the light table

I am so in love with how this sensory bin turned out. The water beads looked stunning on our light table. And this activity encouraged lots of quiet focused play and exploration.

Other Winter Sensory Bins You'll Love 

Preschool winter sensory table idea with water beads - great sensory bin idea for on (or off!) the light table