Sunday, July 10, 2011

What’s On The Tot Trays?- Post 10

Between the holiday weekend & a visit from the boys grandparents we had an overall slow week in tot school, but a great week in LIFE!

I did, however, have these tot trays out that got their share of attention. They all proved to be quite popular with my kids and will probably stay out for a few more days.


The first tray that spiked Dude’s interest was a playdough activity. I’d hidden pony beads in some playdough for him to find.

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Spudder also had a turn with this one. He LOVED it! Please note that this could be very dangerous for a child his age. You can see from the photos just how close I stayed to him to make sure he didn’t put anything in his mouth. My son really enjoys handing things to me right now, so I used that in my favor and let him hand me each bead he pulled out and then we clapped for his success. It was so cute! I actually think I enjoyed this little activity as much as he did :)

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The next tray Dude went for was a simple pencil sharpening activity. Simple enough, productive, and apparently quite interesting if you’re 3.


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Both boys also had turns playing with these plastic nuts and bolts I found recently in the Target dollar spot. I bought 2 bags and I’m really glad I did because the color and shape combinations were different in the 2 bags. The bolts are different sizes, so you have to match them with the correct nut, but having the 2 bags will allow me to mix things up to where if I only put out a few of these the matching pairs may not be the same color.

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The tray that turned out to be Dude’s favorite (and was my favorite for him) was the game Clever Castle by Thinkfun This game is AWESOME! It’s really more a set of puzzles than a game though. It has you use deductive reasoning to figure out where the character tiles are supposed to go in the castle game board. It comes with a book of puzzles that go up in difficulty as you flip through. At 3 years old my son can only do the first few easy level puzzles, but he seems to enjoy it immensely and has played with it almost everyday. The box recommends this game for ages 5-7yrs and I’d say that’s pretty accurate because I’ve also pulled this game out when we’ve had older kids over and they definitely weren’t breezing through it either. Sorry to gush so much over a game, but seeing my just-turned 3 year old exercise his logic and deductive reasoning skills is just amazing to me!



This fingerprint making & counting activity turned out to be another great tot tray activity for Dude. The little booklet came from the Homeschool Creations Police Preschool Pack. In addition to the counting I was also able to incorporate some math into this since my son insisted on sticking all 5 fingers into the ink. When he got to six I walked him through the problems 5+?=6, 5+?=7, etc.

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To go along with our S is for Space theme I drew these pretty lame stars themed cutting strips. This was Dudes first time using big boy scissors instead of the self-opening kind, but he did great with them and was quickly asking for more strips. I also used cardstock scraps to make the strips this time and I think that helped him in being able to hold and maneuver it better.

Hopefully I’ll be sharing more space themed activities this coming week. I've got some great ones planned!

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  1. I think that fingerprint game would be a hit in my house too.

    Visiting from the Sunday Showcase :-)

  2. The fingerprint book is an adorable idea!

  3. Jolanthe has tons of great ideas!

  4. I really like that you hid things in the playdoh. I will have to try that here!

    I've seen those nuts and bolts a couple times in this weeks tot school posts. I will have to run to Target tonight to see if they have them. We were there Saturday and their dollar spot was completely empty...I'm hoping that they were getting ready to stock new merchandise and not completely sold out. lol

  5. Thanks for recommending the castle game. I put it on our wish list. I dont think your stars are lame-cutting is so fun when you're 3 it doesnt matter what they are cutting out!

  6. Good luck finding them jess_hak! I really do like them and love being able to use them with both boys.

    Our Country Road, you're so right about the cutting strips, my poor drawing didn't matter in the least to my 3-yr-old.

  7. You have some cuties there. Simple fun and games are always the best in my book!

    Jo @ SmileMonsters

  8. What creative fun! Thank you for sharing it on The Sunday Showcase.

  9. I have to try the sharpening idea. So simple and so fun:) Thanks for your coment.

  10. Okay a few questions, we do workboxes, and I have a 2yo...I'm basically applying the tot tray theory to work boxes, but what I'm wondering is how many trays a day and how many activities a week. For instance we have 10 workboxes, I have been trying to put 10 different activities each day and well, it's wearing me down...(idea wise). Lately he hasn't been really into it anymore (he has reached the 'no, i only want to do what I want to do' stage), so I've just been keeping the stuff in the boxes that he hasn't done, and it's made my life so much easier. So to make my question more simple, do you repeat the same trays all week? lol

  11. Hi Jen! We have out 6 trays at a time and yes I leave the same trays out all week. Sometimes my 3 year old plays with things multiple times, sometimes he doesn't, and sometimes he tells me no then goes back to a tray on his own anyway. I give him pretty much free reign of the trays as to the when, how often & if he even wants to play with them. BUT we also do a more structured "Tot School" time most days. Those activities are varied each day (roughly based on a LOTW theme) and right now we're making the switch over to workboxes, using 6 boxes. I have him do these in order. He doesn't have to do them, but if he wants to do them he has to complete 1 box before going to the next. I try to be purposeful in the order to keep things varied. So far he's never not wanted to do one of his boxes, but I do try to vary the activities a lot. He's just not a same activity, different theme kinda kid. I plan to do a post soon on exactly how we use our boxes, but I think that covers the jist of how things work for us. I've seen your workbox posts, but I didn't realize that was all in one day! :)


Thanks for your comments!

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