DIY Water Table

DIY Water Table

Water tables are not cheap, a pain to store if like up you have short warm months, and for people in smaller houses, condos and apartments bulky even if they are being used. So this is an easy and fun way to play with water with simple toys and tools that can be used for other things as well. The bike helmet is optional.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic bin ( I got this one in the dish rack aisle at Walmart for under $3, some fun beach type toys like this water mill which I love because it is so dynamic and was bought at Target for $1.99, then a turkey baster, a silly funnel and measuring cups from my kitchen. Also water !DIY Water Table
  2. There aren’t many steps other than play outside, or place some towels down around it as well as have some handy if you are playing inside. DIY Water Table
  3. For more fun add ice cubes and/or bath toys.
  4. If you are doing this outside after your child has had enough , water your plants, grass and flowers!

Books About Water

Who sank the boat

Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen is a funny little story about a group of animals trying to get into a little rowboat without capsizing. The reader is asked time and time again who they think sank the boat was it the big cow? The fat pig? you’ll have to read to find out. This would be a fun book to read while exploring a Sink and Float activity.

Big Red Tub

Big Red Tub by Julia Jarman is a silly tale with really great little subtle details. A brother and sister are in the tub splashing about when their dog jumps in. The fun continues with more and more animals jumping in the big red tub. Finally the tub breaks free from the bathroom and eventually ends up in space! It’s a fantasy but they come back down to reality when mom walks through the door , complete with briefcase while dad is in the background with the shampoo. I loved that detail, nothing is overt but for families with stay at home dads it’s a great shout out I think. Also if you look closely you will see some of the animals that jumped in the bath as toys, slippers and more strewn about the bathroom.


Water by Tara McClintick  a preview can be read online here on memetales.  The book is a wordless collection of photos of water proceeded by a poem about water.  The photos include water in many different forms, a water fountain , pool, shower, glass of water and more. I love that it shows how water is used for so many purposes, delivered in so many different ways but are is always wet. Great basic book!

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Spring Sensory Tub !

Spring sensory tubSpring is finally here!  I love spring and everything it brings from baby birds, to flowers and especially Easter candy. This sensory tub was a huge hit with my son and we have been chilling outside digging in it , filling the eggs with the birdseed and bugs and not worrying about it spilling on the kitchen floor.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub or large casserole dish, some birdseed, kid garden utensils, some Easter eggs, plastic bugs, and flower sequins.Toddler Sensory Activity
  2. Pour your birdseed into the tub.Sensory Activity
  3. Add your bugs, shovels and sequins.

    Toddler Sensory Activity

  4. Add your little gardener and have fun. Sensory Activity

Garden Books

Quiet in the Garden

Quiet in the Garden by Alki is a calm book about listening and watching all the bugs, birds and animals going about their day in a not so quiet garden. Starting with a hungry robin readers watch as all the animals take turns eating and asking others about what they eat. Finally the little boy who is watching all the bugs and animals eat picks some vegetables and fruits from the garden and sits down to have a picnic.  I liked how this book showed how all these animals and bugs thrive within a garden, and how you can hear all the noise if you just sit still and listen.

Jack's Garden

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole is a garden version of the classic ” The House That Jack Built”. We watch as Jack prepares, plants and cares for a garden. I like the detail that the book goes into from the worms in the soil, to the seedlings, birds, flowers and insects that all work together for a garden to succeed. My son loved that Jack seemed to be a teenager, not sure where he got the idea but teenagers are the height of cool for my 3 year old. I also really appreciated the detailed drawings of things along the edges of each page, from slug eggs, to specific insects and different flowers, they all offered more learning while reading.

Song of the flowers

Song of the Flowers by Takayo Noda is beautiful, bright and the three times I tried reading it with my son he declared ” I don’t like this book!” . The text is very figurative, it reads like a lullaby and for my literal preschooler it just didn’t hold his attention. The text is actually very repetitive which is normally a huge hit with my son as well as other children his age but it simply didn’t cut it. The illustrations are paper cut outs and are stunning! Grab this book and have a look for yourself, but I can’t recommend it since it was such a flop at my house.

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Green and Gold Sensory Tub

If you are preparing for St.Patrick’s Day or just urging spring and all the green that comes with it to hurry up and come this sensory tub activity is a must. So fun, so earthy and a huge huge mess. Seriously skip the mung beans, they roll when you sweep.  If you haven’t tried scooping activities with your child do, they love this and a little tub like this can lead to wonderful pretend play, basic understanding of measurement and is just plain fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some split peas, yellow lentils, mung beans ( if you dare… or have a drop cloth down), the green rice is called bamboo rice, some fun gold coins if you are doing a St.Patrick’s Day theme, and tools to scoop and pour. St.Patrick's Day Sensory Tub
  2. Pour your lentils, peas and rice into your tub.St.Patrick's Day Sensory Tub
  3. Add the gold coins and tools.
  4. Invite your child to play. St.Patrick's Day Sensory Tub
  5. Let them go. Find the gold, count them, hide them again, and just explore. St.Patrick's Day Sensory Tub
  6. This spill was much much larger than I managed to capture on camera.  Accidents are forgiven but pouring on the floor is not . He gets one warning then the tub goes up until later in the day when we try again.  Still it’s well worth it and still fun a few hours later too!St.Patrick's Day Sensory Tub

Looking for more Sensory play ideas?

Ice Cube Painting
Oatmeal Digging
Backyard Car Wash

5 Senses – Touch Activity!

sensory activities for kids We are talking a lot about touch right now.  My son is a big snuggler and as my belly grows he has had to adjust to what he can thump on and what he can’t. We have also been talking about gentle touches for friends and babies. I know that many families go through that often with toddlers and preschoolers. This activity contrasts and sorts soft and hard things, and identifies them through touch.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a wipes container that has a rubbery opening ( a kleenex box works well too) , soft items like cotton balls, feathers, small pieces of fleece, and harder objects like blocks, keys and toy cars.5 senses lesson
  2. Pop the outer lid off the box so it doesn’t scratch your little ones arm when they are reaching in.5 senses lesson
  3. Add the items to the container and close the lid.5 senses lesson
  4. Invite your child to reach in and find something hard .  Start a pile for the hard things.5 senses lesson
  5. Reach in a find something soft . 5 senses
  6. Continue sorting until all the objects are out of the box. My son exclaimed when he was done ” I win! I win!”

More lessons about the 5 senses

Valentine’s Sensory Tub – Important Saftey Update Below!!

Valentine's Sensory Tub

I wasn’t going to post this for another week but my little man loves it so much that I couldn’t help but be excited to share.  Sensory tubs are a fun way to include holiday themes in your house without putting up a million decorations. I like using natural things in sensory tubs if possible and the combination of the two beans is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Edited to add that I just discovered that there has been issues with dried kidney beans being toxic as few as 4-5 beans ingested could cause stomach upset and more please replace the red kidney beans in this sensory table with red lentils.

As always watch your children carefully even older kids you think may be past the “mouthing” stage may still put things in their mouths.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large pan , plastic tub or Tupperware ( FYI I bought a cute red one from Walmart for $1.43 but liked how the beans looked in this better so I returned it , but had to share how low cost it can be!). You will also need some dried red lentils, dried navy beans, some heart glitter and foam hearts.Valentine's Sensory Tub
  2. Add the beans and lentils  into the pan. Let your little on play for a bit. Then ask if they want to make it even cooler?! Valentine's Sensory Tub
  3. Add the sparkly hearts and foam. Valentine's Sensory Tub
  4. Dig in and play! Valentine's Sensory Tub

Remember that sensory tables and tubs are messy. Be prepared to use the dust buster, or broom a lot. Our rule is that ooops spills are accidents ( and we have a lot of those!)  and you don’t get in trouble for accidents. If you spill  on purpose you get one warning then the tub is put away until tomorrow and we will try again.  It’s worked for us and kept both of us from getting too hung up on messes and focusing instead on the activity at hand.


Check out these reader favorites sent in last year. Do you have a favorite Valentine book? Leave the title in the comments!

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat . This book was one of my favorite stories to read for Valentine’s Day when I was an elementary librarian. In deGroat’s story, a class of assorted animals are assigned to write Valentine poems for all of their classmates. One student, who had been picked on by some of his classmates, uses the Valentine card-exchange to send rude messages to the bullies. Ultimately, the classmates apologize and rewrite their poems, reminding readers of the value of kind expression.

Sent in by Amber @ Librarianism Chronicles

Dinosaur Valentine by Liza Donnelly is a hit every year. It is a very delightful story about a little dinosaur enthusiast who makes dinosaur valentines with his dog. They deliver their valentines and as they are walking through the woods they receive a mysterious valentine with an invitation to a party. Things take a turn from realist fiction as they spot an Othnielia in the dog catchers truck and the race is on to save her. They save her after a few close calls and find out she is the one who invited them to a party – a dinosaur party!

Sent in by Amanda@ Going Green In Gainsville

Gossie by Olivier Dunrea. This a wonderful story about a sweet little gossling and her favorite red boots. The images are simple and yet filled with rich detail; the text is rhythmic and engaging. You and your little one will enjoy following Gossie on her adventures as she shares with you all the ways she loves to wear her red boots until one day she can’t find them. Gossie’s experiences with her boots will help teach your toddler about the notions of backward, forward, uphill, downhill, etc. As if that isn’t enough, this little gem ends with the a terrific example of sharing and friendship when she finds them on her friend Gertie. My almost two-year old daughter loves it and I love it as well.Sent in by Chris @ Momtonic

I Love You This Much by Lynn Hodges . This story between parent and child is about how the parent loves the child through out the day. The same way God loves his children through out the day. The lullaby tells just how much the parent loves the child and makes me cry every time I read the book to my girls.

Sent in by Andi @ Memories Are The Scraps Of Life

A Circle Is Not a Valentine by H. Werner Zimmerman. It is a humorous little story about Alphonse, who wants to paint a valentine for his mouse friend. It is a great story that promotes participation from the kids, and helps them to identify different shapes. My girls love to read it over and over again!

Sent in by Karen @ Growing With The Girls