One of the greatest benefits of a sensory table is that it stimulates the sense of touch.
Some children may need to be encouraged to touch things they may not want to, while others just jump right in. Sensory tables are a great way to let children play independently and make up their own rules. Try to avoid asking questions to your child while they are engaged at the sensory table. Just let them discover on their own and see what they make up.
Think about all the benefits:
Fine motor skills, social skills, creativity in play, discovery in beginning science skills, cause and effect, the list could go on forever.
Sarah posted pictures of her sensory table that had cereal and ice in it. I was at ELP last week, and their sensory table had red and pink shredded paper in it, and the children were pretending they were at a party throwing it in the air. And not one teacher said stop, you are making a mess.
I think the messier the sensory table the better!
Our sand and water table comes with a lid, and an umbrella. (It was on sale at our Sam's Club last week for $39.99.) But if you don't want to buy one, you could always just use your tupperware, or an under the bed box!