Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's on the Tray Wednesday # 5

Thanks for stopping by What's on the Tray Wednesday! This is a link party for trays, bins, boxes, and bags- basically any way that you contain an activity to help your child focus on one thing at a time and to clean up before moving on to the next thing. Last week we had 25 link ups! I hope you clicked on some of the other links when you linked up. I get so much inspiration from all of you!

I do not put a pin it button on my WOTT posts because the pictures are not mine. If you are reading this post and would like to pin an activity, please click the link and pin it from the original blog!

Without further ado, the most clicked link over the past week was the weekly wrap up at Mama to 4 Blessings! Nicole shared a simple, frugal activity that toddlers and preschoolers are sure to love- spooning marbles into a bottle. This is great for fine motor skills!

On to the three posts I chose to feature for the week.

Over at Taming the Goblin, the trays were all about color sorting and I had trouble choosing a favorite. I finally settled on the salt dough color sorting bowls because they are leagues above my yogurt cups used for the same skill. I am very humbled by those salt dough bowls and so I had to feature them!

Brittney at Mom's Heart has made another great sensory bin and she gets more creative each time, including more skills, but still keeping the bins pretty as a picture! My favorite part of this bin is that she has a lot of hidden goodies contained in boxes that can then be used for sorting, dumping, pouring, opening and closing.

The last feature is Jada Roo Can Do because this post pushed me over the edge and I am going to get some water beads. I don't know if it was the hearts silicone cupcake mold, the pink water beads, or the fact that she describes the activity as both "bouncy" and "calming" but I have jumped on the bandwagon!

And a bonus feature because once again the picture didn't work in the link up and it is such a great post that it needs to be shared! Lisa at Confessions of a Montessori Mom posted a clear and easy explanation of how to give a lesson about zippers and snaps, Montessori style. As someone who is using a lot of Montessori ideas but not officially trained in the Montessori way, I appreciated the step-by-step instructions!

If you were featured this week, please feel free to use the button below!

Now, it's on to another fun week at What's on the Tray Wednesday!

The following rules are pretty standard across linky parties that I participate in, but it's all worth repeating :)

1. Link up a fun, kid-centered learning tray activity. Please link to the actual post, and not your homepage.

2. This linky party is only for activities that are contained- either to a tray, a bin, a workbox, a bag or whatever else you use to keep one activity in one place.

3. When you link up, please make sure you have included my What's on the Tray Wednesday button or a text link back to my site somewhere on your site (in the post, in your sidebar, on a linky party page). This way other people who are looking for tray activities can come back here and see what everyone else is doing.

4. I would love it if everyone who links up would become a follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect. If you leave a comment letting me know that you are a new follower, I will follow you back. It is always fun to "meet" new people who are doing the same types of things with their kids!

5. Each week, I will feature my three favorite trays from the previous week. So, if you link up, you are giving me permission to use one of your pictures. Hopefully, you will get some traffic on your blog as well :)

6. When you link up, I will visit your blog and comment on the wonderful things you are doing with your kids. Everyone loves feedback and encouragement!

7. Please comment on at least one other blog that has linked up. Again, people blog to connect with each other, and everyone appreciates being appreciated :)

WOTT is linked up here

To see our Football Tot Trays this week, click here.  And then share what you are doing with your kids this week!
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Football Tot Trays

Are you ready for some football?? We sure are! In honor of Superbowl Sunday, Boogie  has been enjoying football themed tot trays this week.

What's on the tray? I thought you'd  never ask!

This first tray uses football themed cookie cutters as stencils. Boogie has never used colored pencils, so I think he will be excited. There are fine motor skills involved with coloring and tracing. We can count the stencils and/or the crayons. We can talk about colors. We will learn some vocabulary, like "trophy", "jersey", and "pennant" or "flag."

This is another variation of the good old drop and dump. Boogie can put the pencils in the holes, with or without the erasers on. He can put the erasers through the other side. He can take the top on and off. He can dump things out either through the larger opening or by taking the top off. He can put the erasers on and off the pencils. Lots of fine motor work and hand eye coordination. We can also count the football erasers and/or the pencils.  

This is a pouring and sorting tray.  Boogie can pour the football and star confetti from the cup (which you can't see but it is sports themed) to the helmet and vice versa. He can sort the footballs and stars onto the correct larger versions. We can talk about the colors of the footballs and the stars. We can count how many of each he sorts. I think the pouring/dumping is going to be more fun for him then the sorting/counting, but we will see. There is a lot of fine motor work with this tray too, because the confetti is not easy to pick up!

More fine motor work! These rings were from the cupcakes we got on Boogie's birthday in October. I knew I would use them for something! Boogie can string them on to a football field green pipe cleaner. We can sort by helmets and footballs. We can count by total or by helmets/footballs. We can talk about the colors of the helmets, footballs, and pipe cleaner. He can also wear the rings.

This is a fine motor poking tray. I got the green Styrofoam specifically so I could make it look like a football field :) I used white paint to make the lines and endzones, not very carefully but Boogie is just going to poke the whole thing to pieces anyway. I am interested to see if he pokes on the lines or not. I was going to put numbers and stuff but we have been busy! I like the pipe cleaner goal posts. We can count the footballs as we poke them and take them out and poke them again.

Can you tell I had a lot of fun with these trays? I was going to do mittens this week and then realized I couldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate football with Boogie! My husband and I are a combination of Giants (me), Eagles (him), and Colts (both. Who doesn't like Peyton Manning?! Please play next year, Peyton!) fans, so I am excited for the game :) I could not find any football Montessori activities so I had to kind of invent the wheel. I mostly used stuff I had on hand, with a little help from Party City, which is my go to for random special occasions.

Linking up to these great parties!

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DIY Light Box

After seeing these all over the blogosphere and Pinterest, I decided it was time to make a light box for Boogie.

My inspiration came from these DIY light box posts.

The Activity Mom
Teach Preschool (post 1, post 2, post 3)
No Time For Flascards

* tupperware box
* aluminum foil
* wax paper
* tape
* lights (battery operated, flashlights, or Christmas lights if they don't contain lead. Ours did so we started over with battery operated lights and a flashlight.)


Decide whether you want the surface to be your lid or bottom. We used the bottom because there were fewer markings.

Line the surface with waxed paper inside.

Line all other sides (inside) with aluminum foil.

Put your lights in! Easy peasy! And we had all the supplies on hand!

So far, we have used take and toss containers...

And colored water with eyedroppers. To do the water activity, I put another clear storage container on top of the light box then used small glass bowls for each color.

Boogie is loving this!

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Tot School- Chinese New Year

**Boogie is 27.5 months old**

Last week we skipped ahead a few letters. This week we went back and did a letter we had already done. We did "D is for Dragon" to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 

I made 9 dragon-related learning printables and a Chinese zodiac version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? but, unfortunately, Boogie was not into printables or crafts or coloring really at all this week. I stuck to my guns, though, and put my control freak tendencies aside and did not push Boogie. I just introduced things and when he did not want to do them, I let it go.

He did enjoy some of his Chinese New Year tot trays quite a bit, though!

The parasol tray came out once.  It probably would have come out more if I had taken the parasols out during his nap and after bed.

He loved the surprise factor of the Chinese zodiac animals in a box tray. The first or second box he opened had the gorilla, which he calls a monkey, and he was so happy! He loves monkeys. When he was opening the next box he said, "Nudder muhkey?" and each time he was opening a box he said "Wha dis it?" I love it when he asks questions. It is so good for his comprehension and critical thinking! Can you hear the former English teacher in me rising to the surface? One day, I laid out his coloring pages so we could match the animals but my poor little OCD Boogie kept getting upset that the pages were shifting around. So I printed out a chart instead. That worked a lot better.



 He loved playing with the sauce packets! Such a simple activity, such a huge success! He used the tongs, and actually did pretty well with the pinching motion. he named the colors. He smelled them and shook them and asked to open them, which I didn't let him do but maybe I should have. He wasn't much interested in counting them.


I think the sauce packet tray was tied for favorite with the soy beans and rice tray. He LOVED this tray. He practiced spooning and using his fingers (I would tell him to use his pincher fingers to pick up the pieces that fell on the tray or the floor and he did), as well as tons of dumping and pouring.

I thought he would like this one better, but he was not very interested in the yarn noodles tray. Ah well. It happens. He did well with the cheater chopsticks the one time I took the tray down to show him what it was. And he was very happy about the "Boogie's Bistro" label I made for the takeout box. 

I made a small world play/sensory bin for Boogie. I was introduced to small world play by my bloggy friend Lauzi at Happy Little Munchkins. Hers are much more elaborate, so this is kind of a mini version. We got some snow from outside, I made some ice in muffin tins, I got his mittens, his bulldozer, and a shovel, and then gave him his Dragon Toob. He was more interested in shoveling the snow (very enthusiastically and all over my kitchen) then in playing pretend with the dragons.

We also built houses for the dragons out of wooden and megablocks. He wasn't really into the megablocks, but was getting so frustrated by the wooden blocks that I thought it would be a better solution. I was wrong!

I could not find very many age appropriate Chinese New Year books at the library, but these are the 2 I did find and they are perfect for a 2 year old. Boogie would rather read the Jan Brett books, though.

We also broke out Boogie's Chinese children's music from his Apo and Gong Gong last Christmas. We hadn't listened to it for a couple months so it was like new to Boogie and he is loving it! He is repeating some of the words and phrases and constantly asks me to turn it on.

We worked with the printables I made a very little bit. Interesting fact- Boogie still trades off which hand he favors with eating and coloring.

I really wanted to do some art projects with him but he wasn't interested. I wanted to decorate the Chinese character for dragon by using contact paper to cover the character and painting around it, then the next day taking off the contact paper, covering the character in glue and letting him glitter it (inspired by this post on Little Tiger Growing Up). It didn't go so well. When he didn't want to glue or marble paint, I gave him a sponge brush and a paint brush. When he didn't want to do that, I gave him a dragon then a car, thinking he would like making tracks. Nope. I tried a toilet paper roll. He did each thing once, except the car tracks. He saw that dinky little dollar store car that was for an activity from his birthday party and all bets were off for school for the day. He has carried it around ever since.

I saw a beautiful Chinese skyline and thumbprint lantern project here at Let's Go Fly a Kite. Boogie has been more willing to get messy recently. Not this day. I thought do-a-dot markers would have the same effect. He wasn't going to do dots nicely either. Oh well. Next year maybe.

For some reason, Boogie has also taken to riding his monkey around the house and thinks it is hysterical. I don't know.

It doesn't have anything to do with Chinese New Year, but I made Boogie a light box that he has been enjoying a lot. More on that here.

After this post on Taming the Goblin, I made a felt and velcro diaper for Boogie's baby and he has been having a great time playing "dada" to his little baby. One little piece of felt made the baby new again to him!

Speaking of babies, our big Bam Bam news it that HE GOT HIS FIRST TOOTH on January 26th! I was so surprised because Boogie didn't get a tooth until he was 10 months old! The boys have been having a lot of fun playing together, but on the flip side, Boogie has been acting very possessive of his toys. Boogie seems to flip very quickly between wanting to "snugga" Bam Bam and screaming because Bam Bam looked at one of his toys like he might want to touch it. It is exhausting! Bam Bam is also rolling all around the house and sitting up quite well on his own. He can entertain himself by grabbing toys and chewing on them. In some ways he is a very easy baby and in some ways he is much harder than Boogie was. Boogie was sleeping through the night and Bam Bam has only done that a handful of times. I think it is because Boogie had his own room, while Bam Bam is sharing with us. I am ready to move to a bigger house!

He rolled over to this toy and started pressing buttons!
Brotherly love...or strangling him? Hard to tell! Maybe both!

Loves to grab his toes as he rolls around.

Linking up to Tot School at 1+1+1=1.
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