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Monday, January 18, 2010

Play Tables: Cooperative Learning and Fun


Commercial grade play tables are an investment in your business if you cater to children or if parents come to your establishment with their kids. For that reason you want to choose the right ones for young ones who are patients, siblings or waiting for their parents during examinations or while meeting with a sales person.

Play tables are excellent because they can keep children of all ages interested and occupied for long periods. There are several play table varieties and types, each one adding something new and exciting to your collection.

Here are a few of our favorites!

We never fully understand the power those colorful beads on wire tracks seem to have over children, but as far back as anyone can remember one thing has been certain-kids love them! For that reason, rollercoaster bead tables are an excellent waiting room toy option.

Bead tables come in different sizes, shapes, and themes; but when it comes to waiting room toys, the bigger the better! Some of them have extra large tops with wires and beads weaving in all directions, as well as mini roller coasters on all four legs to allow extra children to play. These are perhaps the versatile options because kids of all sizes can play, and there is certainly enough action for everyone!

One of our favorites is the Anatex Jungle Rollercoaster table. It's longer than most, and it has plenty of room for several children to play at once.

Drawing/Activity Tables

Some waiting room play tables have two ways to play. A Double Decker Train Table, for example, can be used as a chalk board drawing table with the top down, a train table when opened, and as a puppet show center.
Other options may offer drawing centers, surfaces for playing with clay or action figures, and more. The general concept of an activity tables is that they are virtually limitless in play options.

Sand Tables

The name is pretty self explanatory, but for the sake of being thorough, a sand table is much like a sand box on legs. Kids love playing in sand: feeling it slide through their fingers, building castles, scooping it, dumping it, and drawing in it. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a kid who DIDN'T love playing in sand. It is, after all, a good excuse to get dirty without getting punished for it!

The pros of this interesting yet simple waiting room toy, is that it will keep children occupied for nearly infinite amounts of time. It can also accommodate several children at once, and better still; children of all ages will enjoy it!

But what about the mess? Good question and one that is easily answered. Yes, it's true that sand tables do have a bit of mess involved but there are several ways to keep it under control, so you can utilize the wonderful hypnotic powers sand has over bored children.

1. Only use "clean" sand. In other words, don't go digging dirt from your backyard and dumping it into the play table. Buy bags of pure sand from retailers who specialize in this sort of thing. Some craft stores and department stores even provide colored sand for an added fun touch. You can also substitute rice for sand if you prefer, and get nearly the same effect.

2. Do not allow water to be used unless you have the ability to get the kids cleaned up. If you add water to sand you will get mud and mud is a bad thing when it gets on clothes and carpets. Or, use rice, beans, or foam blocks instead of sand.

3. Designate a special area just for the sand table. Keep all other waiting room toys on one side of the waiting area and the sand table(s) on the other. Make sure the table is on a hard surface instead of carpet, or plastic down before you put down the table. With a sheet of plastic, all that's needed for clean up is to lift the table and shake the plastic off outside.

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