June 20, 2019

This Weeks Play Trays | Word Recognition + Fine Motor Skills

It’s been a while since I posted about play trays, in fact, I don’t think I’d really changed Lily’s trays for a month at least because she was really enjoying the ones she already had but I thought it was about time she had a change! I did a complete rehaul on them all and put something new and exciting in each of them for her with each on focusing on a certain area of her development.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with play trays, they are trays filled with a certain activity that your child can choose themselves. They’re inspired by the Montessori methods of education and while we aren’t 100% following that method we do take rather a lot of points on board when choosing how we educate Lily. The idea is that the trays are displayed somewhere easily accessible to the child and they can freely choose which activity they would like to do, for how long and in any way they choose. As you’ll see I do a few structured play trays which Lily wouldn’t fully understand completely independently so I do help her out but really, the idea is that the learning is child led, in a nutshell.

Early word recognition play tray

What’s in it:
wooden letters
4 toys
word tags

Great for:
word recognition
matching
letter recognition
phonics

This was actually Ben’s idea although his initial attempt was a lot simpler (he used bits of cut out paper) which still worked really well but I thought I’d jazz it up for a play tray seeing as she loved it so much. The idea is that the child matches up the letters to create the names of the toys. I’ve added in some tags with a simple shape that coresponds with the toy to help Lily out so she can match the letters easier becasuse she is still only 3 so not reading yet hoeveer, she is sounding out the words with me which is a great step towards it! You can keep this tray going for a while, rotating the toys every so often!

Pasta drop play tray

What’s in it:
an old jar
tweezers
pasta shapes

Great for:
fine motor skills

This play tray os one that Lily has had before, it’s so easy and simple to throw together and she loves it! It’s great for recycling old jars or plastic bottles, anything with an opening really will do and the tweezers are a great way to make this harder for slightly older toddlers. For babies just using their fingers would be great to get their fine motor skills going! You could add in different bits and bobs like different shaped pasta, rice, lentils, beads, etc depending on the age of your child and how easy they find the activity. There is loads of room to shakes things up with this one!

Scissor handing play tray

What’s in it:
child safe scissors
paper/fabric assortment

Great for:
fine motor skills
scissor handling

Lat but not least, we have another super simple play tray that is great for little ones who are slightly older in preparation for school or home ed, whichever you’re going for. Scissors can be tricky so this is a great one to help children get the hang of handling them. Lily is left handed so she found these a bit tricky, I think I might have to invest in some left handed scissors because these don’t seem to work that well for her so bear that in mine if your little one is left handed. I chose an assortment of different papers and fabrics, some that won’t cut just to mix it up a bit. I think this one is going to be a bit frustrating for her until I get those left handed scissors though although she did have a good go at it!

Let me know if you try any of these! I’d love to know how you got on!

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