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The Best Sensory Table

Last updated on July 31, 2020

We looked at the top 8 Sensory Tables and dug through the reviews from 50 of the most popular review sites including Wiki EZ Vid, Review Best 1, Imagination Ward, Best Gaming Pro, Best Kid Stuff, Fishing Picks and more. The result is a ranking of the best Sensory Tables.

Best Sensory Table

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Our Picks For The Top Sensory Tables

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best Overall

Peffer Cabinets KS-PL1827BIR Toddler Sensory Table With Lid

Peffer Cabinets

Toddler Sensory Table With Lid

Overall Take

Versatile, Minimal TableThis versatile, single-compartment table is easy to put together.

  Runner Up

Play Platoon 5-In-1 Kids Activity & Sensory Table

Play Platoon

5-In-1 Kids Activity & Sensory Table

Overall Take

Lightweight and FunctionalThis sensory table comes with multiple surfaces and a roomy storage bin.

  Best for Large Families

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Sensory Table

Step2

Rain Showers Splash Pond Sensory Table

Overall Take

Fun For GroupsLarger families will love this miniature water park.

  Honorable Mention

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Sensory Table

Little Tikes

Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Sensory Table

Overall Take

Durable and EnjoyableThis table is adaptable to many areas and will please large groups.

  Best for Younger Kids

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Sensory Table

Manhattan Toy

Tree Top Adventure Sensory Table

Overall Take

Engaging, Tactile PlayYounger kids will find plenty to do in this miniature playground.

  We Also Like

Best Choice Products 3-in-1 Outdoor Picnic & Sensory Table

Best Choice Products

3-in-1 Outdoor Picnic & Sensory Table

Overall Take

Ideal For OutdoorsParents can use this playtime bench to encourage outdoor play.

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15

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the sensory tables available to purchase.
8

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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50

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

11,957

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 3 others.

The Best Overall

Peffer Cabinets KS-PL1827BIR Toddler Sensory Table With Lid

Our Expert Score
9.8
Our Take

This sensory table has a large, sturdy tub that can accommodate sand, water or any number of substances for kids to explore. It is easy for most anyone to assemble straight out of the box. The materials are built to last and the lid helps keep messes to a minimum.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Play Platoon 5-In-1 Kids Activity & Sensory Table

Our Expert Score
9.8
Our Take

Indoors or outdoors, this sensory table offers plenty of options. The array of interchangeable surfaces include Lego boards, smooth tabletop and water play spaces. All are easy to clean and the storage area has ample room for handheld toys.

Our Sensory Table Findings

Peffer Cabinets KS-PL1827BIR Toddler Sensory Table With Lid

What We Liked: This sensory table has a large, sturdy tub that can accommodate sand, water or any number of substances for kids to explore. It is easy for most anyone to assemble straight out of the box. The materials are built to last and the lid helps keep messes to a minimum.

Play Platoon 5-In-1 Kids Activity & Sensory Table

What We Liked: Indoors or outdoors, this sensory table offers plenty of options. The array of interchangeable surfaces include Lego boards, smooth tabletop and water play spaces. All are easy to clean and the storage area has ample room for handheld toys.

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Sensory Table

What We Liked: With two levels, this table provides more than enough fun for three or more kids. Little ones can explore physics in a creative way by making different waterfall configurations. The sizeable accessory pack gives plenty of opportunities for interaction.

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Sensory Table

What We Liked: A combination of thoughtful design and sturdy materials make this table suitable for a range of play areas from the patio to backyard. It holds up well against the elements and has many activities to occupy large groups of kids. The Ferris wheel and other features are great for building motor skills.

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Sensory Table

What We Liked: The appealing look of this table is made to attract even the most distractable kids. The many nooks and crannies promote logical thinking, object permanence and other skills. The low height makes it ideal for younger children.

Best Choice Products 3-in-1 Outdoor Picnic & Sensory Table

What We Liked: This bench-like play table includes an umbrella to protect young heads from too much sun. The table itself can be adapted into a sandbox, water table or picnic area. The wood materials make it a durable choice.

Our Sensory Table Buying Guide

The first few years of a child’s life aren’t just the cutest ones. Behind all that laughter and shouting and yes, all that chaos, your kids are learning. They’re learning constantly, and what looks like toy abuse to you is actually the beginning stages of fine motor control development. When they smack your best pots and pans with whatever blunt instrument they can find, they’re making connections between their actions and the sounds they hear.

All this is to say that when it comes to your pre-schoolers, you may not want to waste too much money on expensive tablets and alphabet apps — or at least don’t make those the only “educational” toys that your child uses. Most childhood therapists agree that simple, unstructured play can do a world of good for a little one’s physical, mental and emotional development. And one of the best focal points for that is a sensory table.

What is a sensory table? Essentially, it’s a play space that incorporates substances like sand or water and/or objects of various shapes and consistencies. That means that any table can be a sensory table if you put the right materials on it. You can even make a kid-sized one at home if you’re feeling ambitious and you’ve got a little space where toddlers can make a mess. But even the least expensive commercial sensory tables are ready-made for tiny hands and can offer some extra bells and whistles to keep kids’ interest as they grow older.

The simplest sensory tables might be nothing more than a plastic bin mounted on table legs — and that’s perfectly fine. Fill that bin with sand, pasta, rice, soil or dough (to name just a few) and you’ve got an environment that’s just as appealing to curious kids as a day at the beach. Toss in a few implements such as scoops or buckets and your kids will learn about concepts like volume and weight all by themselves. You can even make little scenarios for your older, speaking age children by adding buried “treasure” and daring them to find it.

More complex sensory tables might incorporate slides, gears or simple puzzles, which can be great as kids grow older. Just make sure that it’s not too busy if you’re buying it for very young children. Some kids can get frustrated quickly if they can’t move an object easily along the track that it’s meant to go on. Again, embrace the chaos and make sure it has a little space set aside for that all-important unstructured play.

There’s also an entire sub-category of sensory tables dedicated to water. These water tables can be particularly great in the hot summer months, and the best ones offer the same opportunities for learning and exploration. Many might have slides or waterfall effects that encourage kids to discover cause and effect relationships, and you can add bathtub or pool toys for extra fun. Some are clearly designed to be used with water only, while others can be filled with water, sand or whatever material your child likes to get messy with. If it’s a dedicated water table, a spigot or other valve mechanism near the base can be a big time-saver when it’s time to clean up.

Obviously, any table with sand or water on it will need to be placed outside, or at least in a patio with flooring that won’t be harmed by the inevitable splashes. With that in mind, durability becomes all the more important. That’s the case for any toddler’s toy, but sensory tables will need to stand up to the elements and abrasion as well as the usual rough handling. If your table is plastic, make sure the components are well secured. If it’s wood, make sure that it’s weather treated and finished to prevent any splinters in those tiny hands. A big bonus for summer playtime is an umbrella, which can be installed in some water tables.

If you’ve got enough space in the car, a portable sensory table can be just the thing to occupy youngsters on picnics or other family outings. Many plastic tables can be easily disassembled for on the go fun — just make sure you bring along a screwdriver or any other tools you might need for reassembly.

Toy storage is an issue for many parents, and a sensory table can help with that. Look for tables that might have shelves underneath where you can put outdoor toys or other accessories. Some sensory tables even have a tabletop that doubles as a lid. Just top off the sensory bin with the toys inside and it’s ready for play the next day.

Simplemost Fun Fact

Just watching your child play at a sensory table, you can tell they’re learning to develop physically. But did you know that play space can be just as valuable socially? Occupational therapists use them to help groups of kids build cooperation, communication and sharing skills.

The Sensory Table Tips and Advice

What should you put into your sensory table? The possibilities are almost endless. Some common picks for a “dry” table are sand, rice, uncooked pasta, oatmeal and even shaving cream. Feel free to combine some if you’re using it exclusively for the table. Water tables can obviously be filled with water, but that doesn’t have to be the only thing. Sand can be added to allow the children to create their own “islands,” for example.

Into this mix you can add any number of toys, as long as they’re water or sand-proof. Scoops, shovels and pails are some obvious picks, as are funnels, toy animals, sticks, cars or boats. Just make sure that you leave plenty of room for kids to use their imagination, and remember that a sensory table doesn’t have to stimulate only one sense. Go ahead and add some drumming instruments, bells or containers that can become sand shakers.

With that in mind, use caution with very young children that will want to explore one sense in particular: taste. It usually won’t take long for them to discover that they don’t want to eat sand, but some parents may want to fill the sensory table with edible materials just in case.


About The Author

Avatar
Tod Caviness 

Tod Caviness is a professional writer and journalist for the past 20 years. More importantly, he is the father of a 5-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl, and enjoys curating a library of books for them both. He figures his "dad tour of duty" will be done when they can both beat him at Settlers of Catan.