DIY Sensory Tables

I have shared with y’all on facebook a little bit here and there about these awesome tables, and I am finally posting about them for you!


Y’all, before I dive into “how to” I just want to say that this was hands down, the best $30 I’ve ever spent! Ever! Elizabeth (and her friends) play with this all the time! It keeps her busy and occupied, and I love it!

If you are brave, you could even bring the bean table inside during rainy days or for the winter. And if you’re really brave, you could throw a drop cloth down and do the same with the water table.

what you need:

  • 1x6s or good pallet wood (and of course a saw to cut them, or have the hardware store cut them for you) 

  • screws & drill or nailgun

  • 2 large plastic storage bins with lids

  • primer & paint

  • filler for bean table

  • toys

IMG_6731 IMG_6732

how to:

  • cut your 1x6s to size. You will need 4 each for legs, 4 each for the box, and 2 each for braces. Mine are cut at an angle, so that the bins fit in securely while still allowing the tops to go on. For the legs I wanted mine to be right at her arm level, so mine are 24” tall. (plus she will grow), so your height will depend on the height of your child. I assembled the box first assuring the bins fit. Then, I screwed in the legs. I then ran 2 braces across the bottom (you can see in the pic of the water table above).

  • After everything was assembled, I primed the wood and then spray painted with an indoor/outdoor paint that was safe for wood.

  • Then you fill with your filler, add toys, and PLAY!



I found that large lima beans are the best filler (just be sure to cover them up each night so they don’t get wet and soft). I tried split peas and rice, but they were too hard to pick up and put back in the bucket. Plus, one of El’s friends tried to put a split pea in her nose. Large Lima beans are almost too big for little noses, and they are much easier to pick up. You COULD use sand if you’re cool with that. I just do not like cleaning up sand, and did not like the thought of it being mixed with water. It is inevitable that it will be mixed… or dumped on the ground. or gotten all over faces… oi!

I bought large, but shallow bins with lids so that they can be stored easily. I close them up every night in case of rain and dew. I don’t want soggy beans or leafs in them. I hate the thought of wasting however many gallons of water it takes to fill the tubs, so assuming it’s not really dirty (so far it hasn’t been) I don’t empty the water except once a week (if that).


The whole thing cost me about $30.00. We used good pallets for the wood. I already had the primer. All I had to buy were the bins ($7 each), 3 bags of beans ($1 each), 2 cans of spray paint (4 each), and a bag of sand toys ($5). I got the bins, beans, and toys from the Dollar Store. But compared to sensory tables you purchase ($80 is the CHEAPEST I’ve seen) without toys, you cannot beat it! And you get to pick the colors!

Here’s another update we did: We added outdoor carpet to our back deck. This deck, is 20 years old and needs some major repairs! But since we’re renting and don’t really want replace the whole deck, we just carpeted it for now! What a difference! No more splintery deck with nails to catch your toes on! I can vacuum it or spray it off so easily now!


Do you have a sensory table? If not, I hope you’ll try to make one!


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  1. This Is A Great Idea :0) I'm Thinking About Doing This For Gardening Too..Planting Tomatoes And Egg Platns Because I'm Limited On Space In My Garden..Thanks

  2. Danielle says:

    What a great idea, Jaima! I will definitely have to try this for the summer! I LOVE reading your blog! :)

    Danielle @ Healing the Heaviness

  3. what size are your containers? did u get the cheap ones at Dollar store or Walmart?

  4. Jenny@NorthwestLovelies says:

    I LOVE these! I also love your advice about using large lima beans! :)

  5. Carolyn McNee says:

    Love this idea! Thanks for posting!

  6. NewNikkie says:

    Love this diy, we.just moved in our first home and it has a great back yard. Cant wait to make these for my 3 lil ones

  7. Shelly Leavitt says:

    I am so excited!!! I can’t wait to give this a try. I love the idea and have wanted to do something like this for a while. Thank you for the suggestions. The deck looks great as well.

  8. Love this! I made one for my little one – does triple duty: outside, with beans, rice, etc…..bring it inside to turn into a water table – in the bathtub! Put a suit on in the middle of winter (in a nice toasty bathroom) with warm water, a few toys, mixing spoons, measuring cups….re-warm the water as needed. She ADORES it!!


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