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Creating Space for Outdoor Play

I remember my mother telling us to “go outside and play”? Seems few mothers say that now. The world is ever changing and our children do not enjoy the freedom to roam that my generation enjoyed. That means we adults have to create opportunities for unstructured, open-ended play outdoors. When an enclosed yard is available, we can create play space by digging out and filling an area with sand. Or we can add a sand and water table, also called a sensory table.

Although expensive to purchase, do-it-yourself options range from simple, easy-to-build one constructed of PVC pipe and a single storage container to one with overhead piping for funnels and a down spout. Deonna Wade of the Child at Heart used cut-outs and plastic tubs to repurpose a coffee table. That’s an idea could save time and money too. For those with woodworking experience – or the desire to learn – the possibilities range from budget friendly to “the sky’s the limit.”

We built one 37 years ago from wood with three cut-outs in the top for plastic dish pans and a storage shelf below for “play props”. Including our two year old in the building and painting, albeit messy, made the project a fun play and learn experience for everyone.

Need inspiration? Step-by-step instructions? Start here…

30 minute sensory table$30 – 30 minute DO-IT-YOURSELF SENSORY TABLE


pvc sand & water tablePVC SAND & WATER TABLE


Sensory TableDIY Sand & Water Table


DIY Custom Water Table

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play