Sensory Table with Play Dough and Pasta

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I know the title of this post is ‘Sensory Table with Play Dough and Pasta,’ and believe me – there was plenty of that… but there was also so many other things that added to the fun and creations!!

I put together a sensory table for my daughters “Tulip’ class – 4 – 6 year olds!

Sensory Table



One of the things that I always find a little difficult when creating activities for this class is that there is such a big difference between a ‘just turned four’ and a ‘6 and a half’ year old – both in terms of their abilities and their interest!

That is why open ended activities work so well with big groups – especially if there is a difference in age and ability!

With this activity I was able to capture the interest of all children in the class – the older kids who would normally finish early and look at me with those bored eyes were the last to finish… in fact after about an hour we had to stop them playing…

Of course these activities work well with just one child too!! I have spent hours setting up things like this for my two!

This is what we do when we get to the end of the play dough – “Cooking with Play Dough” is one of our ‘bestist’ things to do!

I have also created very specific themed tables – like this Autumn Sensory Table – that I did with preschool children last year.

Winter Themed Play Dough Table

I like to set up these kinds of activities in secret!! That way when the children or child walks into the room, they are met with a positive surprise.

That’s my favorite moment – when they first get a look at something new and you can see their brains start to tick and their eyes light up!!

Today the instructions to the children were very simple – “You can do anything.”

Children are quite used to being guided towards a specific goal or end result. After walking around the tables with big bright eyes – they all look at you waiting for instructions!

When you say, “You can do anything…” and that’s it, you can see it taking time to sink in, and you watch them looking from you – to the table – to you – to the table, and slowly they all start…

Each child stands a little – some leaning on the table – touching everything, and then they get stuck it!!

And WOW – wait till you see what the “Tulip” class came up with!!

Winter Play Dough Themed Sensory Table

Interestingly about half the children in the class created ‘something specific’ and the others just played.

The children broke away from traditional play dough play – few actually rolled things out and used the cookie cutters – more were interested in squishing things between other things, and standing sticks upright!!

Printing into the dough was also a hit!! They used all the materials to make dents and marks and prints!

Remember I told you about the slightly older kids… here is their creation…

They decided on a joint effort that kept on growing and growing and growing… this art is about 60cm long (and stuck onto the side of the table!!!)

Play Dough Sensory Table

What materials did I use for this Sensory Table?

This list is for inspiration, have a look inside your own house for things you can use!!

On a sensory table like this I like to make sure that there is color & texture and items that usually are not associated with play (for example the Christmas Tinsel and pipe cleaners here).

I also like to include things that are good for standing – as this adds a 3 dimensional aspect to the play and I like to add things that I know are going to make good prints – like pasta shapes and corks.

Then I like to make sure there is plenty ‘adornment’ and decorations!! Like the colored rice and pasta, assorted metallic shapes and beans…

The play dough I used on this table is our no cook Frozen Themed Play Dough! Our Best Play Dough in the World recipe is also a winner!!

This is a great Sensory Table - winter themed - for children to explore, investigate and create!


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