DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger

Make your own sensory table that looks like a manger


This past summer our church adopted a new curriculum and completely (and permanently) transformed an entire wing of the church to look like Ancient Judea. It is incredible. Our small group was assigned the two and three-year old classroom with the theme “Away in a Manger”. My very talented friend Kristen came up with the room design and the rest of us just pitched in here and there.

Our family signed up to provide the sensory table (which was supposed to look like a manger) along with a few other things. We debated purchasing a pre-made table and then altering it to look like a manger, but ultimately decided to make our own using some weathered wood and two restaurant busing tubs.


  • 2 — 4 x 4 x 6 pieces of lumber
  • 2– 2 x 4’s
  • Miter Saw (for angled cutting)
  • Circular Saw (to cut out notches in 4 x 4’s)
  • Package of 2 1/2″ screws
  • Drill
  • 2 Plastic Heavy Duty Bus Boxes (we purchased ours at Sam’s Club near the restaurant supplies–they were $12 for a package of two)
  • Sandpaper (for sanding rough edges)






1. Determine the desired height of your table. Based on these measurements, cut the 4 x 4 posts using a miter saw at a 45-degree angle to create 4 angled pieces of equal length.







 2. Determine the center of your “x” and set the depth on the circular saw to cut half the depth of the 4 x 4 post for each of your four pieces. Once the cuts are made, take your hammer and tap the loose pieces out.




3. After this is complete, you may need to sand or file to make a surface that can be interlocked with the identical piece.







IMG_2228 4. Create a frame using the dimensions of your tub(s) and attach using screws and/or nails. Once complete, screw the frame onto the interlocking “x” legs.












5. To make the divider, measure the inside width of the tub and cut the board to fit. This board will act merely as a spacer. Below the board, screw a longer board to it, allowing an area to screw the board to the frame from the underside.






IMG_2233 6. Insert your tubs and your manger sensory tub is ready!













Here is another area in the classroom (an obvious favorite). :)




Of course, a barn wouldn’t be complete without wheelyCOWS (which Prince Lionheart graciously allowed us to purchase at cost).









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