Earth Friendly Sensory Tub

earth day crafts for kids

I have used a lot of things in sensory tables and tubs before but I had never used coffee grinds until today. To say it was a big hit is a big understatement. At first he did the standard scooping but soon our patio turned a coffee shop , and sensory play turned into dramatic play! Also the grinds are great for your garden so don’t forget to add them to your dirt after you are done.

  1. Gather your materials. I saved up 3 days worth of used coffee grinds from my trusty and much used coffee maker. You will also need a tub, some coffee scoops ( any thing will do) and some mugs. I believe the cups were the trick to connect the coffee grinds to the dramatic play that came about 10 minutes into the exploration. I am so glad I grabbed them.
  2. Explore! There is no wrong way to do this. My son did a lot of filling and dumping to start with.
  3. Explore how the grinds feel , my son exclaimed ” cold and softy Mama!”
  4. Next we played coffee shop, this was completely directed by my son, and here he is handing me my “banana coffee” not my usual soy cappuccino, but I happily took it!
  5. After our exploration we fed our garden with the coffee grinds.



  1. MamaD. says

    We can get free coffee grounds already packaged up at Starbucks. I think lots of coffee shops will give them to you if you ask.

  2. jumbleberryjam says

    Brilliant! We usually dump ours into the garden, but I’ll be letting DS play with it first now ;-). Thanks!

  3. Rebecca says

    Another fantastic Idea – sometimes I just need some fun activities to keep him busy while outside, this is perfect.

    Thank you!!

  4. Allie says

    Yeah the really amazing and significant thing was how it turned into dramatic play. He was very particular about how he served me coffee , and asked me for my money!

    Also the clean up was not bad at all- it shook right off him,we washed out hands and were ready for dinner.

    I am heading over to 6’oclock stich now :)

  5. Allie says

    I actually just read a study about how to make the block center in a classroom into dramatic play, using books during story time. Anyway it was still fresh when I got to witness first hand many of the same things with my son, very exciting to me.

    • admin says

      No way you are so lucky I love Interlaken. I have fond memories of Balmers in my 20’s I stayed there 3 different times. Once for a week . Oh it takes me back.

  6. Sarah says

    If you combine 2/3 coffee grounds with 1/3 cornmeal it absorbs some of the messiness, keeps it from staining, makes the grounds go further (like in a preschool setting) but doesn’t impact the texture, look, or coffee smell! Win!


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