Tubes and Funnels at the Sensory Table

Add some tubes and funnels to the sensory table to increase the play and discovery opportunities! Fine motor skills, co-ordination and problem solving rolled into one open-ended set up for kids to design and adapt as they play.Make a box over the sensory table for tubes and funnels

Due to this miserably wet winter we pulled our  sand and water/ sensory table (click link to find the one pictured here)
into the kitchen recently, so that they could keep sensory play going whatever the weather. We’ve had water, shaving foam, bubbles, sand, pebbles and shredded paper and they’ve loved the usual scooping, pouring, mixing and moulding.

To increase the play and discovery possibilities we then added a cardboard box structure over the top of our sensory table to  act as a support for tubes, funnels and to provide new ways to access the materials through holes and archways.

Tubes and funnels box over the sensory table

I cut arches along the sides of a large, flat cardboard box, and taped the columns to the edges of the sensory table. Then I simply drew around the outside of three tubes which had been cut from a wrapping paper roll, and slotted them straight in. If the hole is just the right size they should stand up independently. On top of those we added three funnels in different sizes, which were 3 for £1 at the £1 shop. We later modified the box to include two large access holes from the top so they could sweep materials into the table and could see and reach through too.

Into the table went some out-of-date beans and rice along with some small bowls and scoops.

Pouring and scooping with funnels

All three girls loved this, ages ranging from 5 to 2, and played with it in different ways. 2 year old Bean loved to peek through the open windows and holes, reaching in to see what she could info and attempting to get the materials down the funnels. The older girls took the tubes and funnels out and rearranged them, forming part of their imaginative play game about a sweetie machine with pipes and connectors. They also enjoyed taking them out altogether and dropping the matirelas straight through the smaller open holes in the lid.Funnels and tubes over the sensory table

We are in the process of modifying this structure more at the moment and changing the sensory materials to provide a new learning opportunity. I’ll post the results soon!

Have you tried changing the access and design of the sensory table, either sand, water or other material? What did you (or the children) do?

What they are learning as they play:

creativity: deisning structures in 3D, imaginative play with loose parts

knowledge and understanding: exploring cause and effect, understanding funnels and pipes, experimenting with different possibilities in play

physical: fine motor control, hand eye co-ordination, shoulder strengthening, pincer grasp, fist grasp, scooping, tipping

Cakie: 5.6

Pop: 3.11

Bean: 2.0

Browse the sensory play archives for loads more ideas here!

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3 comments to Tubes and Funnels at the Sensory Table

  • Cathryn would LOVE this! Great idea, thanks for sharing :)

  • I am falling in love with your website! I love that so many of your ideas are DIY and frugal and use supplies I already have around my house. Only wished I’d come across your site a few weeks ago during all our cold weather. Going to try making the goop and sensory table with funnels today. THANKS!

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