Put together a simple and inviting winter themed counting sensory table, for exploring textures, sorting and counting small amounts of tactile items in play! Playful maths learning with a seasonal, Wintry theme for toddlers and preschoolers to explore.
In the colder and wetter months I usually bring our Step 2 water and sand table inside from the garden and set it up as a permanent sensory pay table in the kitchen. It’s very easy to tip in some dry pasta or pom poms, along with tongs or scoopers, and leave them to play with the materials while I cook and there are so many possibilities of things to add! (Take a look here at our Sensory Table archives to get you started on some more ideas.)
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This week we tipped in some dry white rice (I store plain and dyed rice in jars and re-use it over many years in sensory play tables so that it isn’t a waste.) Into this snowy, wintry base sensory material layer we added lots of clear, sparkly and blue materials with highly tactile elements for handling, counting and moving, including:
Clear and blue glass gems
Large blue and turquoise shape sequins
Flat-backed shape glass nuggets
Sparkly and smooth pom poms
Sparkly, silver pipe cleaners, twisted into spirals
Tea-bag strainer for scooping up and transferring the objects (fantastic for fine motor development!)
Over the top of this we sprinkled lots of white and silver iridescent glitter and stirred it through to make it all sparkle!
I also added 5 little spice dishes (I got these as a set in the £1 shop) into which I had written the numbers 1-5 using a Sharpie marker. There were no instructions given with these dishes or the scooper, but I was hoping the girls would start to collect various items and count them out to match the corresponding numerals while they played, which they did indeed do.
See more WINTER PLAY activities
And all our PLAYFUL MATHS activities
What they are learning as they play:
maths: counting using 1:1 correspondence, matching quantities to numerals, sequencing, ordering, sorting and grouping
physical: sensory exploration, tactile play, transferring small objects, pincer grasp, muscle development through use of small tools
literacy: descriptive language skills, storytelling and imaginative play