Lately, we have been loving doing activities on trays. We love how the tray keeps everything somewhat confined. I also like that it sets the activity we are doing apart from regular free play activities. When I worked at the local children’s museum, I used trays for almost every center or independent activity. I think trays are great for helping kids (and adults too) keep things a little less chaotic. I like to workout in front of Lucian sometimes, both to remind myself and him that I need some time just for me. I also want to set a good example for him of how important it is to take care of our bodies! Before I started that, we used a cookie sheet as a play tray. That works great, and its magnetic!! Because I wanted to set out a few different activities at a time, I grabbed these trays from Amazon. We love them. And they are so stinking cute too!
I thought I would share both the trays and some of the activities we do on them. Some of the activities are super open ended and some have a very specific set of instructions. I try to include a variety.
PLAYDOUGH: When I put out play dough, I like to include different things than his typical playdough tools. Dry noodles are a favorite as well as googly eyes and pipe cleaners.
Kinetic Sand: Kinetic Sand is always a hit, and a tray is pretty much a must with it!
Cutting Activity and Scissors: Lu loves to cut. I recently ordered him more scissors and this cutting activity book. I pull out just one or two sheets from the book along with scissors and a glue stick on the tray.
Wikki Stixx: We love these! Lu will usually free build with these. You can also find activities and worksheets to use with them online,
Coloring Sheets: I will often pull a page from a coloring book and include something exciting to color with: markers, paint sticks, glitter crayons etc.
Stickers: Take the outside part of a sticker sheet off and set it on the tray with paper, Lucian usually tells a whole story while placing the stickers around on the paper.
Stamps: We are still learning to clean stamps before switching colors. If I am going to stick very close by,I will set out a few colors and a baby wipe to clean the stamps. But, if I am doing things around the house, i will do stamps with just one stamp pad.
Science Experiments: We do these together, but all messy science and art projects get a tray too!! We even used a tray under our egg dye.
You can literally put any small activity on a tray. I think Lucian loves the novelty of the tray, and it really helps keep his activities more organized and separate. I do make sure that I stay nearby in case he needs help, and I take time to explain each activity before leaving him to it. If you buy some trays, or even baking sheets, you will use them all the time!! A cute set of trays would even be a great gift for your favorite little one! Share your favorite activities and tips with us!