Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet

Welcome to our collection of Tot Tray ideas featuring ALPHABET ideas.  This is our second post in a series for our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection, our first post featured Transferring Ideas for Tot Trays.

Alphabet Tot Tray Ideas Collection



Alphabet Tot Trays?

Working with letters in a fun and playful way is a natural and effective way to work on letter and sound identification with young children. Many tots will soak up this knowledge without ever having to directly be taught.

Use purposeful language as you engage with your tot, focusing on simply having fun.  The learning happens naturally. I never “taught” my tots to identify letters, yet they learned by the purposeful play we did together.  Letters were a part of our everyday play and they soaked up knowledge naturally.

Not familiar with Tot Trays?  Learn all about them here!

 

What You Need for ABC Tot Trays ~

  • letters
  • something fun to do with letters {see ideas below}

Much fun can be had with a variety of letter toys.  Think outside the box and use one set of magnetic letters, a set of ABC bean bags, or an alphabet puzzle in many different ways.  It isn’t about having more toys, it’s about doing more with what you have!

Here’s some alphabet toy ideas to get your brain spinning, don’t buy all {or any} of these, look at the list to think about what you might already own and can use! You can easily make your own set of letters using bottle tops, rocks, or other basically free creative option.

Alphabet Toys

Some Alphabet Tot Tray Ideas

Note ~  All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your tot, 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.

Alphabet puzzles make great ABC Tot Trays.  The key is to NOT use all of the pieces at once.  If your tot is very young, only use one or two pieces!  Add more as your tot progresses.

Alphabet Puzzle Tot Tray

{the puzzles shown were bought at a discount store, many years ago}

Alphabet Puzzle Tot Tray

 

Matching upper and lower case magnets on a tray can be matched up on a magnetic surface.  You could provide a cookie sheet, or use another surface such as the dishwasher which Krash is using below.  Again, not the entire alphabet is given, adjust to developmental level of your tot.

abc magnets

 

Alphabet Bean Bags can be used for many Tot Tray activities. Below you see some of ours in a box along with some other letters to be matched up.  My mom made our bean bags, but you can find them online too.

Letter Matching

 

Hammering bean bag letters is a fun activity for active tots. You call out the letter and the child hammer’s it!

IMG_6491

 

Bottle cap letters and name cards are a great way for older tots to work on names!

Bottle Top Names

 

 

Alphabet magnets {or puzzle pieces} can be stamped into play dough.

ABC Magnets in Play Dough

 

If you have any large letters {ours are from a foam ABC floor mat}, use these with play dough to make the letters.

Play Dough on Foam Letters

 

Use alphabet printable pages {these are from Tot School Printables} and make the letters together and then poke the play dough!

Poking Play Dough letters

 

Poke the letters with an object that begins with that letter ~ {keys for K, pencil for P, small toy cow for C}

Keys and Letter K

 

Press another small object into the play dough {gems shown below} for some great fine motor work.

ABC with Play Dough and Gems

 

Use letter cookie cutters with play dough, and objects to press into the play dough too!

Alphabet Cookie Cutters and Play Dough

 

Hammering our foam puzzle was a VERY favorite of Krash when he was a tot. Ladybug loved these puzzles too.

Hammering the Alphabet Puzzle


See more ABC ideas here on our Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet Pinterest Board

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot Tray Ideas ~ Alphabet on Pinterest.


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 easily.

I do ask that you pin this post, 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!

Irrelevant links will be deleted. This linky will remain open indefinitely.

Link up your Alphabet Tot Tray ideas below!

See our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection landing page here!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection[4]

Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring

Welcome to our collection of Tot Tray™ ideas featuring TRANSFERRING ideas.

Transfer Tot Tray Ideas Collection



What is transferring?

It’s  moving one object or a group of objects from one place to another. This can be done using a variety of materials and can be changed up to engage interest quite easily!

You can set up many different transfer Tot Trays, they are one of the easiest to set up and can be as basic or elaborate as you want!

Transferring helps with real practical life skills, teaching young children hand to eye coordination. It is also great for fine motor skill development.

 

What You Need for Transfer Tot Trays ~

  • a transfer material {pom poms are a very easy one}
  • something to transfer with {tongs, tweezers, spoon, etc.}
  • a container to transfer from and into {we use ice cube trays, paint trays, bowls, etc.}

    Here’s some ideas to get your brain spinning!

    Transfer Tot Tray Tools

Some Transferring Tot Tray Ideas

Note ~  All ideas are presented with the understanding that you are playing WITH your tot, 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.

Here my daughter was transferring little spikey balls {which were sea urchins for our ocean theme} from one bowl to other bowls.  She was also sorting by color. She is using a melon baller spoon to do this transfer.

Tot Tray Transfer Spikey Balls with Melon Baller Spoon

 

Below you see my daughter transferring ping pong balls from the metal container to the paint tray using a pair of mini tongs.

Tot Tray Transfer Ping Pong Balls with Tongs

 

Below Ladybug is using tweezers to transfer pom poms into and ice cube tray.  She LOVED these little plastic tweezers!

Tot Tray Transferring Pom Poms using  Tweezers

 

You can see Krash using tongs with smaller paint trays and pom poms below, the tongs shown below are from a bug collection set we had years ago.

Tot Tray Transfer Pom Poms with Tongs

 

Large tongs  and large pom poms are certainly an option too and provide a unique challenge for different arm muscles!

Tot Tray Transfer Pom Poms with Tongs

 

Below she was transferring marbles using tongs, into an recycled frozen baby food tray

Tot Tray Transfer Marbles with Tongs

 

Krash is using the mini tongs to transfer mini erasers into two cups {he was sorting the fish and turtles}.Tot Tray Transferring Mini Erasers with Tongs

 

Below he was using the same tongs to transfer bigger erasers into small glass cups {tealight holders form Ikea}, working on one to one correspondence {counting one item at a time}Tot Tray Transferring Mini Erasers with Tongs


See more transferring ideas here on our Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring Pinterest Board

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot Tray Ideas ~ Transferring on Pinterest.


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 easily.

I do ask that you pin this post, 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!

Irrelevant links will be deleted. This linky will remain open indefinitely.

Link up your TRANSFER Tot Tray ideas below!

See our Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection landing page here!

The Ultimate Tot Tray Idea Collection

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

 

See available idea collections below!  Click on the graphic to see the post!

Transfer-Tot-Tray-Ideas-Collection.jpg  Alphabet-Tot-Tray-Ideas-Collection.jpg

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 Tray Ideas for Tot School

Tot Trays for Tot School

It was many years ago that “Tot School” was given it’s official name, and now I see the name floating around everywhere {which is great!}!  My oldest son holds the honor of naming this glorious time in a young child’s life, after babyhood but before Pre School. In our home Tot School lasts from about age 1-4. You can see how Tot School was named here!

Tot School early learning through play

 

Soon after the creation of Tot School, came the concept of Tot Trays.  A simple twist on an old idea with Montessori based roots.  A contained work space for tots, to inspire early learning fun.  A way for mom to stay organized in her thinking and provide opportunities for early development in fun ways.

Tot Trays for Tot School

 

I no longer have tots {sniff, sniff} but still have the passion for teaching tots at home. I have been working on a secret Pinterest board behind the scenes to get all of our Tot Tray ideas pinned and labeled with ages on one board. I finally finished and opened up the board to be public so you can all scroll through and gather ideas quickly! This board is only for Tot Tray ideas from my own blog. I share other ideas from other blogs on my general Tot School Ideas board.

I love that the concept of Tot School and Tot Trays stretches far and wide today, it’s exciting to see! I am so encouraged to see so many families exploring and learning with their tots at home.  It is such a beautiful time in a child’s life, full of an eagerness to absorb and take in new ideas.  It truly is my favorite, I miss it already in my kids!

Find the Tot Tray Ideas Pinterest Board here!


On a personal note {stemming from an email I received recently}  ~ sometimes reading online about concepts like Tot School, Tot Trays and many others make some moms feelA photo on a blog is a split second in time with NO sound less-than.  At times, reading about how one mom does things in a certain area can make another mom feel unworthy and bad about herself.  Trust me, I know.  I may have the Tot School thing figured out, but there are plenty of blogs I read that can sometimes help me slip into poor-me mode. I remind myself that we all have different gifts and passions. I never want my enthusiasm for early childhood stuff to come across as though I am a better mom.  I assure you, I have plenty of things I am NOT good at, like cooking Moms are All Differentfor example.  I pray my blog, my ideas, and my life encourage and inspire you.  If it ever makes you feel less-than or as if you don’t measure up, please remind yourself that you have your own unique talents and strengths. God has gifted us all differently. I am totally real, just like you; I just blog and have a crazy passion for creating early learning experiences for my kids, and taking pictures of the journey {which I then share with you}. Always remember there is MUCH that you don’t see, a photo on a blog is a split second in time, with no sound. I do my best to be a realistic {much of my realism is shared via Instagram} as possible but as we all know, that will never be achieved through photographs, or even video clips.  You’d have to be a fly on my wall to see that our life is just as crazy as yours, probably crazier.

Oh Where Are the Trays?

image

I have gotten several emails lately from readers looking for the trays I have and recommend on my Tot Trays page.  I searched and searched Oriental Trading and sadly could not find them. These trays often go out of stock. Search “plastic trays” on the Oriental Trading website to see if they are in stock!

In the meantime, I thought it might be good to start a discussion to share alternatives. I know several of you {me included} are in planning mode and ordering supplies to prepare for a new year. I just got a new OT catalog and immediately began hunting and this seems to be the best alternative…

imageEasy Clean Flat Trays MK-62/110 $19.99 for 6

 

I also found trays at Discount School Supply.

Brawny Tough Plastic Art Trays, Item # ARTRAY $16.99/5 trays

image

They also have these, which are definitely smaller but may be perfect for some of you.

Colorations Mini Art Trays, Item # MTRAY $21.95/12 trays

image

 

If any of you use something different for Tot Trays, please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts or suggestions.  If you have a post on your blog showing them in action, that would be helpful and I invite you to link to it.

Many people have also asked where I got the bins pictured in this post.  Unfortunately those were from the $1 section at Target a few years back, so they aren’t available either!