We’re passionate about sensory play here at In The Playroom. It’s a great way to explore, develop imagination, work on fine motor skills, and lots more!
Having set areas where you can easily set up sensory bins and contain the mess makes it easier to include sensory play in your day more often.
I really love this DIY sensory table that has been made by customising Ikea furniture.
Once you have set up your sensory table, there are so many sensory table ideas that you can use to mix things up from a sand table, water play table, kinetic sand or playdough area, to a station for filling and pouring with colored rice. The variety is the best part!
We will go over some ideas and different ways of filling your new sensory table and sensory tubs later on in this post, for children as young as one year old, to 5 year olds and upwards.
I’m welcoming Medina from Grillo Designs here today, to share this simple Ikea hack from their own playroom. If you enjoy this and are looking for more playroom ideas and fun DIYs for your home, you definitely need to follow them on Facebook. I’m always impressed by the creativity of their projects!
Note – Since this article was originally published, Ikea have brought out the flisat table which combines with Ikea trofast trays as an easier way to put together a play table.
If you are looking of the quickest and easiest IKEA sensory table, you may want to look at Ikea flisat as a more ready made version. It’s a great thing that IKEA have made such an easily accessible sensory table, and the flisat table is now super popular.
However, the DIY sensory table tutorial we share below can be made for a significantly lower total price.
Over to Grillo Designs:
I am a huge fan of ikea furniture. Not only is their furniture cost effective but there’s always room for creativity and redesign.
Here is an example of this: I didn’t have the funds to buy an actual play table for my son so I decided to use the ikea lack table to make one!
They can be bought from any IKEA store for £10 in a variety of colours.
I used the standard white table for this hack.
What you will need to make the DIY sensory table
- 1 x Ikea lack table wooden table
- 2 x rectangle plastic tubs (it is your personal choice which size of plastic tub you choose to use)
- 1 x manual saw (or electric saw if you have one!)
- 1 x pen.
- Paint (if you wish to change the colour of the table.
- Washi tape
- Varnish/mod podge
How to make your DIY sensory table
Saw off one quarter of the table, to remove the back legs so you are just left with 2 legs and a table of less depth.
Whether you choose to do this step is your choice, however I was lacking floor space so this worked for me to create the perfect size.
If you need to adjust the height of your table, you may also want to adjust the length of the legs.
Using your pen, outline the shapes of the 2 storage containers boxes on the top of the table to give you an idea of where to saw, with the correct dimensions.
Bear in mind that your actual outline should be slightly smaller than the actual box to ensure the boxes don’t fall through!
Use the outline and saw out two rectangle shapes with your saw. This is hard work by the way!
Once you are satisfied with your cuts out, use the glue gun around the border of your rectangles (or cement tube or poly filler can be used for more sturdiness) and slip each plastic bin in to place.
Tape the edges of your outline with washi tape to hide any untidiness.
Paint the table (my 2 year old helped me with this part so painting is not perfect)
My son uses this table for all kinds of sensory exploration and sensory play, with dried pasta, colored rice, balls, sand, water beads (with adult supervision) and more
Fun Ideas for Your Next Themed Sensory Bin
Wondering what to put in the bins in your newly built DIY sensory table? Here’s some inspiration and ideas to get you started.
Soon your kiddos will have their favorite sensory activities that they request over and over.
The below are lots of fun for young children (some affiliate links included)
- Pine cones
- Rice (how to color and scent rice for sensory play)
- Shaving foam / shaving cream
- Play foam
- Water dyed with food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Cloud dough (like diy sand.. how to make cloud dough here)
- Kinetic sand
- Pom Poms and toilet paper tubes
- Cotton balls
- Ice cubes
- Small plastic animals such as arctic animals or toy dinosaurs
- Scoops and tools to use with the sensory materials
- Magnetic chips
- Small gems
All of these bin contents are a great option to explore different textures
DIY Water Table
You can also adjust this sensory table into a DIY water table by filling both trays with water and adding pvc pipe extensions and funnels for extra fun, especially outdoors in the summer!
For more sensory play ideas, don’t forget to follow In The Playroom – Sensory play and activities on Pinterest
Or check out our top 10 most popular sensory play posts of last year.
We hope you enjoyed this step by step tutorial on how to make your own wooden sensory table with plastic tub areas for messy play.
If you are comfortable with DIY, this is a fairly easy project and something that will bring hours and hours of fun!
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.