I absolutely love my water/sensory table and so do my children. If you don't have one you can use a shallow rubbermaid container or a dishpan works well too.
This without question is my children's favorite activity for the water/sensory table. I bought a bunch of silk leaves, I throw in some brown pom poms(nuts), add these cute little squirrels(I found them at Oriental Trading), a *tree made out of a recycled coffee can, some tongs, and programmed leaves with numbers on them.
We use it in lots of different ways:
1. COUNTING AND ADDING
They pick a card and then hunt like squirrels to find that number of nuts in the leaves picking them up with the tongs and take them back to the tree. As they have gotten older they pick two cards and add them together and find that many nuts.
They group the squirrels by the different items they hold or the leaves by shape or color.
They just love to play with the squirrels in the leaves.
4. SMALL MOTOR SKILLS
By using the tongs in #1 this is a great small motor skill activity.
*I made the tree by taking brown construction paper and made it to look like a tree. Then cut the paper to size and glue it to the can(the great thing about the can is I saved the plastic lid and so I can store all the other items in the can until I need it again).