Saturday, February 19, 2011

What's On The Trays?- Post 2

D is 32 months old.
S is 12 months old.

In addition to doing Tot School with Dude we also do Tot Trays as inspired by Carisa over at 1+1+1=1.

I had originally started doing these with my older son, but have recently started trying to come up with ideas that allow Spudder to join in on the fun as well! Our trays for this week include some things for both boys.

On the trays for this week:

1. A milk jug with a large hole cut in the side, a basket of colored clothespins, macaroni, a measuring cup, and the top portion of a cut-up 2 liter bottle. (I didn't have a funnel that would work for this so I improvised one.)

4. Stickers and a notebook from Dollar Tree

5. A paper towel holder, plastic bracelets I borrowed from our February sensory bin, & scraps of fabric with slits cut in them
6. Flat glass beads, a spoon, & baby food jars in various sizes

And some action shots:

Both boys enjoyed the Hide N Squeak Eggs , but Spudder played with them significantly more than Dude. This seems like such a simple little toy, but each egg squeaks, has a different face on it with a corresponding face on a removable top shell, and has a shape on the bottom that fits into matching recesses in the carton. That makes for quite a lot of ways to use this toy! Dude had fun matching everything up properly, while Spudder mostly liked the squeaking, taking the shells off, trying to put them back on and trying to fit the eggs into different containers.  This is really a great toy for use by various ages.

The milk jug with a hole cut in it has been hanging around our house since last fall when Dude used it for a water pouring activity. I was recently reminded of it after seeing a post over at Chasing Cheerios. I kept the original idea of having Dude use it as a funnel/pouring activity and added the clothespins for Spudder to experiment with. I couldn't find a funnel that the macaroni would pass through, so I cut the top off of a 2-liter bottle. These fit together perfectly and worked great! (Watch for sharp edges if you use a 2-liter bottle. We didn't have that problem with the milk jug though.)

Dude poured and put the macaroni through the holes in the basket.

Spudder first did a bit of put & take play using the large hole and having the jug on its' side. He then moved on to putting the clothespins into the top of the jug and removing them from the side. He was really adorable to watch with this one!

The Guidecraft Interlox were a recent present from the boys Nana and this was Dude's first time playing with them. I thought they were a bit difficult to connect and take apart so I stayed close by to prevent any potential meltdowns. (Dude gets very easily frustrated and is still a bit below the 36 month age recommendation.) After a little bit of instruction on how & where to hold, push, and pull he did do pretty well with them and seemed to really enjoy himself. I did do all the disasembling for now. With the way they connect it was just too hard for him to tell what and which way to pull them apart.


Spudder was also close by one day so I let him play with a few pieces. We mostly played by handing them back and forth between us. I also tried to say and emphasize the color words as we played.

Dude seems to have a love/hate relationship with stickers so I gave him a small notebook for some extra incentive this time. It worked! I did end up having to remove the sticker sheeting around the stickers to make it a bit easier.

The paper towel holder tray was another that I'd planned with both boys in mind. I gave it to Spudder with the plastic bracelets. He took them off, tried to put them on (He wasn't the best at this yet.) and had lots of fun just clanging things around!

The fabric swatches were for Dude. I had cut small slits in different spots on them just big enough to fit over the paper towel holder. I just used what we already had, so ours weren't very pretty. In order to put the fabric on the holder, Dude had to find the slit, turn the fabric the right way, then use both hands to pull it down the holder. I also had him do it alternating a piece of fabric with a bracelet. I can't say that Dude loved this activity, but he was intrigued enough to do it a couple of times. As he did it I could tell that these skills were a bit out of his comfort zone, so we'll have to work on similar activities in the future.

And Dude did some spooning, spontaneous sorting, and pouring with his glass beads. Gotta love the sound of glass hitting glass! He sure did at least. I hadn't intentionally given him jars of different sizes, it was just what we had, but I was impressed to see that he had sorted the smaller beads into the smaller jars, and the larger ones into the larger jars. I was very proud of my little man!

Overall, the boys seemed to have a really fun week exploring their Tot Trays!

Tot School     


  1. Great idea to use your paper towel holder. Would have never thought of that.

  2. What fantastic trays! I think your homemade funnel is genius and probably works much better for noodles than a real funnel would. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  3. loving your ideas and will be pinching a few to try with my littlens!! Thanks for the post!!

  4. I love the fabric swatches idea I'm trying it. I lov eyour trays ideas. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for your comments!

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