I have really wanted to try tot trays and shelves because so many of the homeschooling mommies I follow use the Montessori type setup with shelves and contained activities on them. We do not have a separate schoolroom so I have been struggling with how to help Boogie understand the difference between the things we use for school and the playroom toys. I want to keep the play dough and sensory bin and things like that for school time use so they are interesting and special during the day, especially the morning, which is when I am trying to plan our tot school. It is a work in progress and Boogie is still so young, so we are just taking one day at a time and doing a lot of trial and error, as Hubby keeps reminding me when I get discouraged about the lack of space.
So, this was my first attempt at some kind of changeable activity area.
I packed up all his toys that did not begin with B, were not blue, or did not have anything to do with colors, shapes, numbers, letters, or Noah's ark. On the top row of bins, from the left, there are barnyard animal balls, blocks, random blue toys, blue beads for lacing from a pool noodle (I kept the rope separate). On the second row, some random things that start with b, bear loveys, bottles (for washing with a blue sponge with water in a blue bowl), balls. Third row- cars felt pieces because he loves them, clank can to practice colors, foam big and little B lacing cards I made him and blue pipe cleaners for lacing, the blue and B play dough supplies so he could let me know when he wanted to use play dough. Bottom row- animal memory game for Noah's ark, B sponges (bus, letter B, boat), some cars (blue or his favorites), color and shape puzzles.
The problem with this system was that he was very confused about what went where when we were cleaning up because things were not where he was used to them belonging. For a meticulous child, this was frustrating. So, I put everything back and set up a shelving system in the kitchen with a few of the activities for a week instead. This seemed to work much better for both of us for the one day that we have tried it so far.
I ordered trays from Oriental Trading, so it will be more organized and not just in random containers when those come. Having a place for the sensory bin and dry erase board is nice with this setup because he loves both of those things. The bottles have been the biggest hit so far out of all the B activities.