The comment about water waste caused me to reflect on my sensory table "rite of passage."Beans were being used in our table when I joined the teaching staff, and they bothered me because the overflow mess was difficult to clean up. I'm all about messy play, but I like to set the students up for success, to be able to manage their environment as much as possible. Most kids found this particular clean-up to be pretty discouraging and they opted out. This was a problem for every medium used in the sensory table.As I found my footing and moved in the direction of everyday, all-weather outdoor play, I began to feel the sensory table was taking up valuable real estate in our never large enough room. As our outdoor time lengthened, and I gained the buy-in of parents, caregivers and the other teachers, I pushed to get rid of the indoor sensory table, and simply put a plastic one outside where the students could play with mud, dirt, leaves, mulch, whatever they found in the back yard. It was really messy, and it was really sensory. In fact the whole yard was sensory and the table became more of a site for building "habitats" and other child determined projects.Water play is beloved, and again, my thinking started with my own teacher issues: I didn't want to be a water mule, spending my precious outdoor time ferrying pitchers from the sink to supply all the water needs. I let the environment supply the water, which is to say: rain, snow and sleet. The back yard was the habitat in which we lived. The students played in the rain and were water-rich. As dry weather came, the water started to disappear, but the students quickly learned about all the crevices and places that they could gather from. They learned about wasting and hoarding. They squabbled a lot. But they got used to the idea that water play was finite and dependent on rain fall.