A sand table is a low child-sized table with tubs that can be filled with materials for children to explore. The sand table is the backbone of preschool science activities in learning centers. Early childhood special education classrooms use a sand table, or water table. The sand table provides hands-on,interactive learning, cognitive and perceptual development and tactile stimulation. You can make your own sand table for preschool learning centers. Then use these sand table science activities for early childhood lesson plans.
Water: Fill tubs with water to make a water table. Add floating toys and bath tub toys. Provide different sized containers that encourage children to practice pouring and measuring. Place revolving water wheels in the water table. Add some items that sink and some that float. Use water table for hands-on exploration with the scientific concepts of flotation, water displacement, density and specific gravity. Create a “What Sinks? What Floats?” chart.
Bubbles: Make a simple bubble solution with water, lemon Joy dish soap and glycerin for sturdy bubbles. Add bubble making toys and every day household gadgets: apple corer, egg beater, whisk, egg slicer, slotted spoon, fork, cone shaped applesauce mill and any other safe gadgets for water science activities in learning centers.
Rocks and seashells: Fill your sand table with water and sand. Add rocks, seashells and old (sanitized) recycled toothbrushes. Children can scrub shells and rocks with toothbrushes. Shells and rocks are best seen in water, which brings out their hidden depths. Children will love exploring the intricate beauty of shells and rocks.
Shaving Cream: Allow children to squirt shaving cream into water table tub. Concentrated gel shaving cream is lots of fun because it foams up as it sprays. Teach safety so kids don’t get soap in their eyes. Exercise caution with aerosol cans. It may be advisable to have an adult add the shaving cream. Encourage finger painting and drawing in shaving cream. Make sure children wash their hands after doing science activities in learning centers.
Snow: Fill the sand table with snow and add plastic sand shovels, trowel, ice cream scoop, melon baller, recycled plastic cups and containers for molding and shaping snow. Have children to wear gloves and keep several pairs near the water table.
Recycle bin paper scraps: Place scrap paper in sand table tubs and add scissor with patterned edges and paper punches. Children love to snip, trim, cut and punch paper. Exploring with paper in the sand table keeps scraps in one place. This exercise provides good practice in cutting skills, scissors skills, eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Dried beans or rice: Add plastic measuring cups, spoons and cups with pour spouts. Teach children about measurement math. Preschool children can practice counting, sorting while getting good tactile stimulation in learning centers.
Aquarium Fish tank rocks: Buy bags of multicolored aquarium fish tank rocks (the small kind that line the bottom of the tank). Fish tank rocks make excellent media for pouring, scooping and measuring. Aquarium rocks also don’t draw insects like beans and rice. Beads work well in the sand table, too, but can be expensive. Explore other materials for your sand table science activities.
For more preschool lesson plans visit Preschool Child Activities, The Special Needs Child and Free Lesson Plans 4u.