I remember when I first laid eyes on the FLISAT table at IKEA, I knew I absolutely needed one for our home! I was so drawn to the idea of adding the TROFAST tubs to turn it into a sensory table. So you can imagine my excitement when IKEA gifted us our very own FLISAT table! It’s become such a big part of our play routines and a piece that I definitely highly recommend.
Quite often, I see parents asking in our Play Ideas community whether the FLISAT table is truly worth purchasing. They’re often torn between a standard table or maybe even a train table. So today I wanted to share a few reasons why I highly recommend adding a FLISAT table to your play space if it’s something you’ve been considering.
It’s a dual purpose table. You can leave the top on and use it as a standard kid’s table for eating snacks at or doing arts and crafts on top of. You might like to add a cover or tablecloth to stop little bits of food falling into the cracks though. We actually have ours set up in our home corner space most of the time. I’m going to ask my Nana if she could make us some little tablecloths to keep on top when we’re not using it for sensory play!
We love using it for water play! We’ve had our table for a few years now and it’s still in excellent condition! We even use ours for water play from time to time and it’s held up well. If you do use it for water play, just make sure you keep the covers well away as they will swell if they get wet. The actual frame has held up to water without any obvious deterioration or anything of the kind. In fact, we’ve used it for water play plenty of times and just wipe up any water without letting it sit too long. Our FLISAT even lived outside on our deck for a few months and you wouldn’t even know!
Below is one of the activities from my new book, Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers. We added some food colouring to some water and added some fresh flowers for a sensory flower soup invitation!
Add some TROFAST tubs to turn it into a sensory table. This is my favourite way to use the FLISAT table. Sometimes we’ll pop two tubs in and sit a child at each end so that they’ve got their own tub to work in without bothering one another too much. Quite often I’ll have a few sensory tubs set up in the top of our cupboard so that when I need some help getting through till dinnertime, I can quickly grab a sensory tub and get the kids set up fast!
Tip: Add an old bedsheet underneath the table to catch any spills. We have a rule – keep it in the tray or we pack away. Little accidental spills are going to happen though so the sheet will catch those and you can pour them back into the tub before you pack it away.
Don’t just take my word for it though!
We recently talked to members of our Little Play Club community about how much we LOVE our FLISAT tables! With their permission, I’m sharing some of their favourite activities with you today.
Setting up a really inviting sensory activity doesn’t have to be complicated – you can use a lot of things you already have at home, including pantry staples, kitchen utensils, books, and even items from your linen cupboard!
Our Little Play Club member Fabia (@adozione_e_altri_racconti) whipped up this quick sensory tub using some lentils, containers, scoops and even a muffin tin for lots of scooping and pouring practice – all things she already had sitting in her kitchen cupboards!
Want to add a bit of colour? Creating rainbow rice is super simple, you can use food dyes or paint – check out this previous blog on how to create rainbow beans! As well as practicing fine motor skills, this one is a great activity to introduce colours to your little learners. Tegan set this one up with some books and toys to extend the play.
If you’re looking for something for younger learners, water play is always a big hit! Emma (@randcplay) sliced up some oranges and lemons and popped them in with some water coloured with food dye – a couple of utensils and away they go! This one is great for babies that like to mouth everything, and it also smells great too!
Worried about cleaning up ALL. THE. MESS?! Annabelle (@zam_and_co) shared a great tip with us for quick and easy clean-up, no matter how messy the session gets! She pops a waterproof sheet under the table, to catch any spills for an easy clean-up at the end. My clever friend Zara also made an epic sensory sheet with a plug!
Small world and dramatic play
Want to set up something a bit more challenging? There are so many possibilities with small world and dramatic play! For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know I LOVE nothing more than setting up inviting small worlds. Using the FLISAT table for little invitations like these is a no-brainer for me!
A great way to get those fingers working hard is to make things interesting with an end goal in mind – Fiona (@junior_j_at_play) set some jungle animals in a green jelly ‘jungle’ and sent her little learner in to rescue them!
Setting up small worlds is a fun way for your little learner to let their imaginations run wild. Leah (@nuniesnme) created this great land and sea table for her little learners using some pantry staples and a collection of animals.
Ever thought about turning your FLISAT into a sand and water table? Claudia created this take on a classic by filling one of the deeper TROFAST tubs with water and blue food dye, and the other with flour and baby oil to create that beachy feel without the sandy cleanup!
Another way to use your FLISAT is for role play! Nyssa’s daughter LOVES to ‘wash’ her stuffed animals, so she set up the FLISAT table with a pretend bath tub and wash station to let her imagination run wild!
Some other ideas might include a food serving station, a baby doll wash station or even a doctor’s table with tools in the little trays on the left and the lid on the right ready to change your baby on top of!
Shared play spaces
One challenge that I hear from a lot of our members is juggling multiple ages and stages, especially when one sibling is younger and might decide that everything either needs to be thrown on the floor or looks good enough to eat!
Setting up a couple of different activities on the table can give choices on what they might like to explore – Mae set up this table for her 1 and 3 year old, and they were able to choose what they were interested in.
You know another great place for really messy play? Outside! There are so many things you can do – a mud kitchen, a construction site with dirt from the garden or even just some colour mixing with containers of water coloured with food dye and a few syringes, scoops and bowls for mixing.
However it can be as simple as what Vali (@quebolamama) set up for her little learners – some coloured water and scoops – a great activity for a sunny day out in the garden.
As you can see, the options are endless when you add a FLISAT table to your home! They’re perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and big kids alike. We honestly love our table to pieces and it’s definitely been a worthwhile addition.
If you’re looking for more simple play invitations, head on over to our Play Ideas Facebook community and then search for FLISAT in the group. You’ll find TONNES of ideas to inspire your playtime. We’d love for you to make a post to share your ideas too!