Tot Tray Ideas ~ The Ultimate Collection

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection



I am so excited to launch a brand new series featuring Tot Tray™ ideas from me and from YOU!  Tot Trays are a simple twist on a very old Montessori idea involving a contained work area for young children. The trays are my version of this, making it simple to implement at home. I developed the term Tot Trays years ago to describe the variation I was using at home with my son, and went on to use with my daughter

Tot Tray ~ Droping Chips into a Container

 

What are Tot Trays?

  • a tray your child can work on, providing a clearly defined work space
  • an activity presented visually on the tray so children can choose from a variety of options, promoting a child-led early childhood environment
  • easy to clean up for a young child due to the contained space of the tray, promoting independence

It’s really simple, but can get as complex as you choose.  It’s just an idea for creating a child-led environment which promotes early learning skills through play.  That’s the entire goal of Tot School, and Tot Trays are just an extension of Tot School.  You can read much more about Tot Trays here in my original post from years ago!

What Are Tot Trays

 

The concept of Tot Trays has spread far and wide across the Internet and that excites me!  There are many blogs who feature their own Tot Tray ideas and I would love to pull these ideas together here! I am developing a series of posts which will feature a linky for you to link up your specific idea{s} for the Tot Tray category.

Transferring Ping Pong Balls Tot Tray

We will all work together to create a massive collection in one place, so you can find ideas quickly and be inspired by all of those who are using Tot Trays with their tots and sharing ideas.

Tot Tray Set Up

The Linky Details

To make these linkys simple for bloggers I am not requiring a link back, that way you don’t have to go back and add it to old posts but can feel free to link up quickly and easily.  I do ask that you pin whatever post you link up to, or share the post on Facebook.  If you want to provide a link back to the idea collection, that’s GREAT and will only help your readers!

As new categories are added, the graphic will be added here so you can come back and jump around to the new ideas!  This will be our landing page and all of the upcoming posts will be linked here.

Some trays will obviously fit into more than one category, and as we go you can link up the same tray idea again if it fits.  A transfer activity might also involve color work so it could be linked in transfer ideas, color ideas and even fine motor ideas!

Below you can see the categories I have ready to go and will post over the coming months, some may also be added.  These graphics should give you a start in thinking about what you may want to come back and link up when the linky for each category goes live!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection

 

Stay tuned for our first collection and linky, it will be coming soon!

Be sure to follow my blog via email so you don’t miss a linky when it goes live. Right now I don’t have a set schedule, but hope to launch a new category every 2-3 weeks.

If you feature Tot Trays on your blog, feel free to leave a link to your blog in the comments section of this post.  If you have your Tot Trays sorted by a tag/category, use that specific link so others can find your ideas!

Tot School Ideas for Ages 18-24 Months

Tot School Ideas Ages 18-24 Months



Tot School is simply playing with your tot!  The name came from my son many years ago, but don’t let the term “school” fool you, it most certainly is not school in the traditional form.  It is simply exposing early learning skills through focused play with your tot, something parents have been doing for many, many years!  I am a firm believer in developmentally appropriate practice and letting kids grow and develop at their pace, not pushing education too soon.  However, it is usually the MOM who needs an actual plan, idea list, or even a program to follow. For those of you who love to gather ideas for playing with your tot, I am sharing several posts in a series, broken down by ages. Many have asked for this, and finally I am taking the time to do it!

Many of the ideas presented in former posts are also great ideas for this age group. Some are duplicated here, but many are not. Be sure to look back if you haven’t yet!

See our other posts in this series…

Tot School Ideas for 9-12 Months

Tot School Ideas for 12-18 Months

Tiny Tot School Ideas for Ages 9-12 Months  Tot School Ideas Ages 12-18 Months[1] 

All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your baby, these are not all independent activities as some of the items are choking hazards. Please only use ideas that you feel comfortable with and feel you can ensure your tot’s safety.

 

1. Foam ABC Puzzle

This ABC puzzle has been a long time favorite in our house.  We have the upper and lowercase version, and Krash especially LOVED this puzzle.  We used it almost daily, mostly for hammering letters into.  It is foam and durable.  See the post this photo is featured in here.  He is 23 months old in this photo.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Foam ABC Puzzle from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

2. Blokus

Blokus is one of our favorite games to use not as intended!  The pieces are great fine motor work for little tot hands and Ladybug especially loved creating with this.  She is 22 months old in this photo.  See our Tot School post that featured this activity!

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Blokus from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

3. Straws

Straws and empty containers {Parmesan Cheese shown below} always provided hours of entertainment. Ladybug was 21 months in this photo, see the rest of the Tot School post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Straws

 

4. Felt Play

We have many felt sets, most are Betty Lukens, since we reviewed them years ago.  This one is Creatology from Michaels. She loved designing felt scenes at this age.  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, she was 22 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Felt Play

 

5. Dress Up Play

My tots began to love dress up play during this stage and I LOVED seeing them dress up! Krash is on the right at 22 months, the post is here.  Ladybug is on the left at 22 months, the post is here!

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Dress Up from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

6. Matching Favorites

Our theme based printable packs are great for fun matching activities.  Tots love matching their favorite characters to cards with the images.  Shown below are cards from our Cars Preschool Pack, she matched the real cars to her cards. See this Tot School post here, she was 22 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Matching Favorites  from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

7. Foam Blocks

Foam blocks are such a great tool for tots of all ages.  One of our very favorites for many stages.  She was 21 months in this photo. See this post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Foam Blocks

 

8. Cutting Food

Cutting food is a great toy for tots!   Krash was 22 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Cutting Food from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

9.  Lacing on a Firm Stick

Lacing is difficult for tots this age when using a flimsy string.  We use firm sticks to lace on at this stage.  Below she is using a heart on a stick bought at a craft store, not even sure what they are called officially, I think they go in plants maybe? The idea is something thin and firm to lace bigger beads on.  Once this is mastered, you can move on to lacing on a pipe cleaner. She was 21 months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Lacing on a Firm Stick from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

10. Spooning

A spoon, a container to spoon into, and small items to spoon are all you need for this simple activity! She was 21 months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Spooning from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

11. Basic Pattern Block Puzzles

These basic pattern puzzles are a great toy for tots this age.  Just challenging enough for most, but not too overwhelming.  Both kids loved these at this age.  Krash was months in this photo, the Tot School post is here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Shape Puzzles from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

12. ABC Fishing

We have loved this magnetic fishing ABC set for years. It is great hand-eye work for this stage, as well as a fun way to work on letter names!  She was 18 months in this photo. See this post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- ABC Fishing from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

13. Shape Sorter

Any shape sorter will do, and you probably have one or two, they are popular!   She was 23 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Shape Sorter

 

14. Stickers

Stickers are great fine motor skill work for tots!  Krash was 22 months in this photo, see the post here.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Stickers

15. Tossing

Ladybug had some gross motor delays during this stage so we tossed a lot to help her muscle development.  We often used a laundry basket and any indoor toy or ball that could be safely tossed!  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, she was 21 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Tossing from www.1plus1plus1equals1

 

16. Sidewalk Chalk

Many tots love the freedom of sidewalk chalk, mine did! See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, he was 22 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Sidewalk Chalk from www.1plus1plus1equals1

17. Poking Pasta

An old cereal box with small holes poked by you in advance and some uncooked noodles make for a great activity for tots during this stage.  I remember Krash playing with this a lot!  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, he was 23 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Poking Pasta in a Cereal Box from www.1plus1plus1equals1

18. Water Painting

I did it when I was a kid and you probably did to!  A bucket of water and a grown up paint brush. Much fun for tots and big kids!  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, he was 23 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Water Painting

19. Instruments

Our instrument collection has always been a favorite of all.  Tots this age love to make noise and explore instruments of all kinds!!  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in, he was 21 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Instruments

20. Chunky Puzzles

Chunky wooden puzzles are great for young tots, consignment sales and thrift stores are great places to find them!  See the Tot School post this photo was featured in {puzzle is here}, he was 24 months.

Tot School Ideas 18-24 Months -- Chunky Puzzles


I created a simple PDF file featuring all of the images from this post on one page.  Back when we were Tot Schooling, I loved to have lists I could refer back to.

You can download the Tot School ideas for Ages 18-24 months here!

I also went back and added PDF files like this to the 9-12 month ideas post and the 12-18 month ideas post!

Tot School Baby Play Ideas Ages 18-24 Months

See our Tot School Ideas for Ages 18-24 Months Pinterest Board here! If you are a blogger and have specific posts for this age group, leave a link in the comments to share with others!


Looking for more ideas, be sure to grab our Where to Begin with Tot School eBook for free here! In the eBook you will find pages with different ages and ideas for that age group!

Tot-School-Ideas-By-Ages_thumb111


~ Coming Soon ~

Tot School Ideas for 24-30 Months

Tot School Ideas for 30-36 Months

Tot School Ideas for 3-4 Years

In the meantime, you can visit our Tot School Ideas by Ages!

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 71

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!Tot School Gathering Place 5.17.14 www.1plus1plus1equals1.net

What do pets, letters and bubbles have in common? Nothing, except making memories and teaching your Tots about the world around them! Take a peek at the different link ups and see what activities will spur your Tot’s imagination!

Mama Amy, from Wildflower Ramblings, put together several activities to help Tot John explore and learn the letter Y. Take a look at the wonderful activities that help Tot John investigate the entire alphabet and the life around him!

Wildflower Ramlings

 

Are you delving into the alphabet again with your Tot? Take a look at Bible Fun for Kids to consider some of the letter “A” activities and printables your Tot may enjoy!

Bible Fun for Kids

 

Do you celebrate theme weeks? The beginning of May was “Be Kind to Animals” Week and Mama Christa took advantage of the theme to look into the letter C for Cats and Care! Take a look at all the fun she put together for her crew over at Little Log Cottage School.Little Log Cottage School

 


Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other!!

I also created a Tot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, will you email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pintrest link? I am opening up the board to allow other bloggers to pin their Tot School posts that feature Tot School Printables in action.

Tot-School-Gathering-Place-Pinterest[1]   Tot-School-Printables-Pinterest-Boar[1]


Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="http://bit.ly/W32RDO" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src="http://bit.ly/13tsB2r"/ ></a></center>


Please read this carefully before linking up! This may no longer be the linky for you, so please glance through this list to be sure you want to stick around and link up with us!
By linking up you agree to the following:
  1. A photo and a link to your post may appear in a future Tot School post. You give me permission to choose a photo from the post you link up, and give me permission to use your ideas in my post. I will link back to you, mention your blog, and give you full credit for any ideas chosen to share from your post.
  2. Your post is a post written specifically for Tot School and not just an idea for tots. It features your own child{ren} in action. This is a community for moms to come together and share their journey with Tot School virtually.
  3. Provide a link back to Tot School within your blog post {you can use this link: http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/tag/tot-school-gathering-place/or a direct link to the weekly post you link up to} if you link up. If you do not link back to Tot School, your link will be deleted. Link backs on the sidebar, or in a massive “I link up here” page don’t count ~ they are too difficult for me to find and the first thing I look for when verifying links is the link back.
  4. Link up your exact Tot School post {not your blog homepage} if you are unsure how to do that read this!
    Each week I will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Sometimes it may be one simple idea, sometimes it may be a collection based around a concept .



Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?

Where-to-Begin-with-Tot-School-eBook

See the Tot School webpage here!


New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers

Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers

Awhile ago I wrote a 10 Day series entitled, Homeschooling Tots and Preschoolers, which shared ten posts all about early learning at home. 

Below you will find links to the 10 posts from that series, as well as any other I felt might help you if you are on this amazing journey of homeschooling little ones!

First, I shared our Where to Begin with Tot School™ eBook, which is a free bonus for all newsletter subscribers!

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook 

 

Next, I reminded moms {me included} that we don’t have to do it all!

You Don't Have To Do It All

 

My friend Becky from This Reading Mama shared a guest post with us about Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Homeschoolers.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Homeschoolers 

 

Next, I share the time I invest in planning for Tot School or Preschool, and how I do it.

Planning for a Theme

 

My friend Maureen from Spell Outloud shared tips for studying nature with tots.

Studying Nature with Tots

 

Next I shared the difference between Exposure and Mastery with young children.

What is Tot School

 

Next I share my heart behind using themes in early childhood.

Why Themes

 

Maureen came back and shared about homeschooling tots in a large family.

teachingtoddlers

 

Our VERY favorite learning toys for tots was next!

Favorite Learning Toys 

 

Finally, I launched a new series sharing theme based printables from around the web.  This series is now complete and you can see links to other letters in that post too.Theme Printables A through E

 

If you are homeschooling your young children at home, here are the top posts from my site that I recommend reading {in no particular order}! I am a visual person so I opted for graphics rather than a list.

Alphabet Idea Collection  Colored pattern with letters of alphabet

Hands on the Alphabet  How to Plan Using Themes  I Spy Color Hunt

Tot Trays for Tot School  Minute by Minute Tot School  Tot School Printables A to Z

Homeschooling Preschool  Tot Trays Tot School Preschool Work Trays 2

Tot School Gathering Place  Tot Time Notebook  Animal ABCs 300

Printable Theme Packs Storing Theme Printables Following the Lead of the Child All By Myself Preschool Quiet Time Boxes

Home Preschool A to Z from www.1plus1plus1equals1.net  Following the Lead of Your Preschooler at Home  Learning with Ladybug Preschool

Tot School Printables A-Z  Tiny Tot School Ideas for Ages 9-12 Months  Tot School Ideas Ages 12-18 Months

 

Here’s a list of a couple of early childhood Pinterest boards you may want to follow. You can see them all here, they are at the top of my boards {themes sorted alphabetically are below my early childhood boards}.

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 70

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!

Tot School Gathering Place Features 5.10.14

Happy Mother’s Day!!! Thank you for all that you do for your Tots and families! You are making memories that will last a lifetime and will impact future generations! Relax and enjoy your day!

Mama Becky from This Reading Mama shares with us some great ideas about teaching our Tots letter recognition in a fun, interactive way! Be sure to check out her thoughts!This Reading Mama

 

Over at Welcome to Mommyhood, Mama Yuliya created some wonderful ideas to help her Tot explore the letter M and some simple math concepts. Take a peak to see what may interest your Tot!

Welcome to Mommyhood

 

As the evenings grow warmer the stars beckon us to watch them shining in the sky! Check out what Mama Krystal put together to help Tot Reid explore the stars!

My Life and Travels

 


Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other!!

I also created a Tot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, will you email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pintrest link? I am opening up the board to allow other bloggers to pin their Tot School posts that feature Tot School Printables in action.

Tot-School-Gathering-Place-Pinterest   Tot-School-Printables-Pinterest-Boar[1]


Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="http://bit.ly/W32RDO" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src="http://bit.ly/13tsB2r"/ ></a></center>


Please read this carefully before linking up! This may no longer be the linky for you, so please glance through this list to be sure you want to stick around and link up with us!
By linking up you agree to the following:
  1. A photo and a link to your post may appear in a future Tot School post. You give me permission to choose a photo from the post you link up, and give me permission to use your ideas in my post. I will link back to you, mention your blog, and give you full credit for any ideas chosen to share from your post.
  2. Your post is a post written specifically for Tot School and not just an idea for tots. It features your own child{ren} in action. This is a community for moms to come together and share their journey with Tot School virtually.
  3. Provide a link back to Tot School within your blog post {you can use this link: http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/tag/tot-school-gathering-place/or a direct link to the weekly post you link up to} if you link up. If you do not link back to Tot School, your link will be deleted. Link backs on the sidebar, or in a massive “I link up here” page don’t count ~ they are too difficult for me to find and the first thing I look for when verifying links is the link back.
  4. Link up your exact Tot School post {not your blog homepage} if you are unsure how to do that read this!
    Each week I will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Sometimes it may be one simple idea, sometimes it may be a collection based around a concept .



Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?

Where-to-Begin-with-Tot-School-eBook[1]

See the Tot School webpage here!


New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

{if you can’t see the linky, just leave your info in a comment and I will add it manually}