Homemade Child Sensory Table for Under $11

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As the weather warms up here in Lititz, PA, my wife has been looking for ideas for outdoor activities to do with our 1 1/2 year old. One thought was a sensory table, where a child can play with water, sand, or dry objects like Lima beans. Unfortunately, sensory tables can be rather expensive (starting at $50 for the least expensive and well overĀ $100 for more expensive ones). So she asked if I could build one on the cheap.

DIY Child Sensory Table Out of Reclaimed Wood

We started by figuring the rough dimensions of the table. We settled on 20″ to the lip of the Tupperwear container. We based this on measuring the height of my daughter’s kitchen, then taking 2″ off the height. This makes the sensory table a perfect height for her this summer. We took a trek to the local Target where we found the perfect sized plastic container, and we bought it for $4.50.

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We used my daughter’s play kitchen to judge the height of her new sensory table.

Once we got home, I started breaking down a softwood pallet I had. I prefer using the wood from hardwood pallets more, so I didn’t have a plan to use this wood for any other project, so it was a perfect fit.

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Breaking apart pallets in my outdoor workspace.

I measured the wood and cut the supports to lenght on the miter saw. To fit our specific plastic container, I added a slight angle to the supports so the container could slide into place. I also added two supports underneath, in order to better hold the weight of water.

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The pieces are cut out in my indoor workspace. Notice the angles on the legs at the top of the picture.

The legs I cut on a 20 degree angle. That way the legs go out from the table to offer more stability, while at the same time not going out so far that they become a tripping hazard.

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The sensory table before spray paint. I thought it looked like a manger!

To keep this project as cheap (read: free) as possible, I was planning to use some spray paint that we already had. But we noticed that a local hardware store had a really good sale on spray paint, so my wife picked up 2 cans of Key Lime ($2.99 each), to provide a colorful flair to the project.

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Sweet deal at a local hardware store on spray paint. We sprung for 2 cans of Key Lime color!

Once the spray paint dried, my daughter and her friend took the new sensory table out for a spin. They loved splashing, playing with the toys, and getting soaked! My wife loved having an outdoor activity for my daughter, and the flexibility this new table provides. And I love that we could create this fun new toy with minimal cost (total spent: $10.50) and 2 hours of my time.

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Having fun with her new sensory table.

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