Ocean Theme Sensory Table And Trays

Ocean theme is one of the most exciting and engaging unit I have even before when I was still working as a guide in a Montessori primary class. Luckily, I saved all those learning materials and was able to bring it with me when we had our major out of the state move. This Ocean Theme Sensory Table And Tray is so easy to set up and will just need a little bit of creativity and imagination to create an environment that is fun packed and an absolute great way to learn about our ocean. Any sensory activity or play helps the child to develop and refine their senses though the actual manipulation of an object. By using their senses, they learn, remember, and easily absorb the knowledge adopted from the carefully prepared environment.


Ocean unit study or we call it in the classroom “Thematic Unit Study” is a long and complex unit. My little learner here usually get bored easily after a week of a certain unit study so its important that a planned theme activities are in line and well prepared. Generally speaking, it always depends on a child. Following the child’s interest supports his/her developmental stages of learning. A child’s curiosity in anything like living things or nature provides an opportunity for the guide, parents and caregivers to explore the many learning resources available in your home, school and library. Below are the list of materials and ideas how I set up our “Ocean Sensory Table and Tray” at home.




1. Place the tray on top of the table for a DRY sensory play experience.

The panoramic ocean book with stickers served as a backdrop placed on the table. For the dry sensory play: left and right are Audrey’s sea turtle and crab pop-up ocean animal coloring art works to add on the scene. Then for the sensory tray, I put the kinetic sand in a small fish bowl, sea shells, rocks and pebbles and the miniature sea animals are placed separately. The tray was luckily spotted in a yard sale. It looks like the owner just DIY the three compartments at the middle. Im trying to find similar or close to this kind of tray but had no luck. The tray measures 18″ X 12″ to be exact.

Then I invite Audrey to create a small ocean world at the left part of the tray. She slowly scoop the sand to create a seashore scene then we work together to arrange the animals one at a time. She was amazed by the result of her work and how it looks realistic.


2. Create an ocean small world directly at the table bins then put water for WET sensory play. We are using the FLISAT children’s table from Ikea.

At the right bin, I pour about three quarts of water then I mixed blue food coloring from our easter activity last month. At left part, you can either use the left bin to place the sea creatures or place it in a bowl on top of the covered bin. It is basically how you create or design your child’s ocean sensory table. There are a lot of ideas to create an inviting ocean sensory play area for example: At your local dollar store or party city they always carry that ocean theme party supplies. Go hit that aisle and look for the table cover for your backdrop. Or place it under the table too to  make the space more of an ocean ambiance.

My little one love this so much! Young kids like to touch and feel all sorts of texture like a smooth kinetic sand or water satisfies their sensory perception for touch and feel. This kind of play took her a couple of hours of enjoyment and most of all she’s happy with her creation!

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