A while back I saw a blog or two about sand on the light table. I liked the look of it and thought the children would enjoy the feel.
I covered the table with a clear sheet of laminate and taped down the edges (hoping the sand doesn't get under and scratch the glass).
The grown-ups patiently showed their children how to wind up the toys (great for fine motor development) and talked about the different marks or tracks each toy made in the sand.
Which toys moved fast or slow. Which ones didn't work well in the sand. Which one was the noisiest.
Even after the curiosity of the wind up toys was done some children continued to draw, play and pick up the sand with their fingers. I appreciate that our light table has a lip around it so it kept the sand on the table.
A lot of conversation happened around the light table.
Plus I'm always excited when I hear a parent say "I could do that at home. We have wind up toys too."