Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's On The Trays?- Post 5

D is 33 months
S is 13 months

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

On our trays for this week we had:

1. A muffin tin, 6 wooden beads, & a wooden dowel
2. A measuring cup with a spout, a small (creamer?) pitcher with a spout, a bowl, and enough rice to fill the small  pitcher

3. Playdough, playdough scissors, & a couple cookie cutters (This tray was left over from last week. I just added the scissors this week.)

5. A colander & pipe cleaners
6. Melissa & Doug Food Cutting Set , a bowl & spatula

And now for some action shots:

I just love using games on Dude's tot trays because they're toys that I know we'll get a lot of use out of! We have several games that we just use the pieces of for play and exploration now, and then once Dude's older we'll be able to play the games as intended. I really like buying toys that I know won't be outgrown quickly! Dude is in prereading phase now where he's always asking me to identify individual words for him. He loved using the Boggle Junior Game to spell out simple words on his own.


Both boys had turns playing with the colander and pipe cleaners. Since he doesn't have the fine motor control yet, I just inserted them into the colander for Spudder to pull out, while Dude explored this tray freely. This was Spudder's first time experiencing pipe cleaners and he liked this activity quite a bit. I wish I had gotten a picture of his face. You could almost see him thinking as he played! He kept flipping the colander over and over and was very intrigued by the under (inside) of the colander where only short lengths of the pipe cleaners protruded. And of course the colander turned into a hat more than a couple times :) Dude was eager to get this off the shelf, but didn't play with it for as long as I'd expected. In hindsight maybe adding some pony beads would have made it more entertaining for him. I saw this clever idea over at The Imagination Tree


This was my first attempt at introducing 1 to 1 correspondence to Spudder. I hoped to get him to put 1 bead into each hole, but that didn't happen. He was more interested in throwing the beads :) Oh well, it was worth a shot, right? I had Dude use the dowel to put the beads into the pan without touching them. I had expected this to be difficult for him, but he actually did it quite easily.

Pouring rice. I intentionally gave Dude just enough rice to fill up the smallest container so that he could pour between all 3 dishes freely. He always likes his pouring trays, but they can get messy so I have him do them in the kitchen to make for easy cleanup and to ensure Spudder doesn't get a hold of something that could be a choking hazard. 


Dude got some fine motor practice and then did a little pretend play with our Melissa & Doug Food Cutting Set . I don't think I've met a kid yet who doesn't love this toy! Spudder's efforts with it would be better classified into the gross motor category, but he had a good time! He wasn't yet interested in trying to pull the velcro pieces apart, but stirring proved to be lots of LOUD fun!


Spudder's first playdough! Surprisingly he actually seemed to like it! He's so different than his brother was at this age. He did a lot of squeezing and mashing then pulled off pieces to smush into the tray. I had debated over making edible playdough for this, but ended up just giving him the stuff out of the tub. He did attempt to put a couple of pieces into his mouth, but not nearly as badly as I was expecting. I intentionally did this somewhere besides the kitchen in hopes that he wouldn't mistake this for snacktime, so maybe that helped.

I'm linking this post up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1, Tot Tuesdays at My Delicious Ambiguity, & Box Ideas Tuesdays.


  1. Great trays! I think I will be checking out the Boggle Jr.


  2. I love your trays. I have got to try the pipe cleaners in the colander. My girls love putting pipe cleaners in a shaker jar and putting beads on them. I actually made a math activity out of it if you are interested in looking.

    I also really like the way you added the Boggle Jr as a tray activity. Gotta look into that game.

    I am now following your blog.

  3. Fun week!! We love using games, too. I don't have Boggle, Jr., but will be getting it. Princess and I play regular Boggle and Super Tot loves to watch us and play with the letters. I think he'll LOVE having his own game! We use Qwirkle pieces all the time. If you don't have that one already, pick it up and you will LOVE it, too!

  4. Thanks for the Boggle Jr. link! My 39 month old is CONSTANTLY spelling letters out on just about everything so I think he will really love being able to spell out actual words on his own. I also like how you are using the same tray for both kids. I'm struggling with keeping my 3 year old from interfering too much with my 13 month old's Tot School time so I think giving him the same activity but at his level wlil be great for us!

  5. Thanks for the link Kewkew! I love your extension activities. We'll definitely be trying that sometime.

    And thanks for the Qwirkle recommendation! I'll have to look into that.

    Ambra that's a huge problem over here too. It's so hard to make sure each gets their own time. My oldest is always trying to be umm.....helpful. I just do my best trying to distract him.

  6. You have so many great ideas! I am looking for ideas for my Little Dude, thanks for sharing.

  7. Fabulous ideas, Julie! I have to try the colander activity pronto -- I'm sure my daughter would love it, at least until she figures it out :) And I never would have thought of Boggle Junior -- off to order it now!

  8. What fun ideas! I love it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Friday at Sun Scholars! I'll be posting the next link party tonight, so be sure to stop by. I can't wait to see what you have to share this week!

    :) rachel @


Thanks for your comments!

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