3 Indoor Play Ideas For Your Child’s Sand and Water Table

sand and water table play ideas

Are you tired of being asked over and over again when the sand and water table can come out of hibernation?

It’s such a shame when your child can’t play outside with their sand and water table, especially when they have so much fun and can set their imagination on creative overdrive. We all want to keep our little ones happy and it’s so rewarding for us to see them have fun and experience new things at the same time. So, why not bring your child’s sand and water table inside?

If you follow these ideas and suggestions for different ways in which your child can use  their sand and water table, not only will they be able to play with one of their favourite toys in cold or wet weather, but they will learn through play and, at the same time, keep warm by playing indoors:

  1. Sand and water tables don’t just have to be used with sand and water. You can put rice, pasta, dried beans or peas in there too.
    Many children love to use kitchen utensils, such as ladles, cups, spoons, measuring jugs and anything else you can think of, to measure and pour the rice or pasta.
    Perhaps your child will enjoy role-play and will be delighted at the opportunity to ‘cook’ you a meal, especially if it’s pasta or something which you normally serve at mealtimes. This role reversal, of having your child cook your meal can be great fun for both of you.
    Not only will these alternatives to sand allow your child to experience different textures, but they will also be able to use their imagination. Maybe they will enjoy hiding their dinosaurs or farm animals and digging through the rice to find them. You might like to try hiding sultanas or dried fruit, wrapped in tin foil, and allow them to hunt for edible ‘treasure’. Depending on the age of your child, you might want to add extra rules to make it more difficult to find the treasure, such as they can only use a spoon, or have to be blindfolded and can only feel their way to the treasure.
    If you can drag your child away at the end of the play session, don’t worry about wasting the rice or pasta – simply keep it for another day, as this is something your child is bound to want to do over and over again.
    Alternatively, when you’re finished with the beans, rice, or pasta, you can use it for arts and crafts. For example, your child can thread the dried pasta to make a necklace or other item of jewellery. It could be used to make a collage, or painted and used to help with counting and number games.
    Whether you choose to continue using the pasta, or to make something else once you are finished, it won’t be wasted as you will have additional activity for another day.
  2. If you have a waterproof surface or plastic sheet which you can use to protect the floor, your child can still enjoy water play indoors. As a treat, you can add a small amount of bubble bath to the water so your child can play with the frothy bubbles.
    Ladles and cups make excellent toys to scoop the bubbles and create ‘bubble mountains’.
    You can also add your child’s usual water toys when they’re playing with water indoors, so they can enjoy all the fun they’d normally associate with outdoor water play.
  3. If you don’t mind a little bit of mess, this will go down a treat with your child. If you haven’t got a tiled floor, or other waterproof surface, you might want to put down a protective sheet, but your child’s fun will make the effort worthwhile!
    Make some jelly, using the normal packets of jelly which you can buy from the supermarket. Depending on the size of your sand and water table, you might want to make a couple of packets, or perhaps even make a couple of different colours and put one colour in the ‘sand’ compartment and the other in the ‘water’ compartment.
    When the jelly has set, mix it with a fork or spoon to separate the mixture slightly and pour it in the sand and water table.
    Hide plastic dinosaurs or farm animals and your child will have their very own ‘jelly swamp’ which will keep them entertained for hours.
    You can always save a little bit of jelly for your child to enjoy later.
    The texture of the jelly and ‘messy factor’ make this a real treat for toddlers and older children!

    These activities can also be done with a water play table, such as the Step2 Waterwheel Play Table.

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