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I’ve been thinking about summer activities and about tough trays and thought I would share some ideas with you. If you don’t have a tough tray then don’t worry, you can use the ideas on a big sheet of paper, a smaller tray, a cardboard box etc etc. One of the many reasons I love tough trays is because you can take a toy that children love, for example cars and they can have fun with the cars on their own and then after a while the cars might lose their initial excitement but if you introduce a ramp using books and a plank of wood or a chopping board etc then that opens up a whole new experience and level of play, they can learn cause and effect by pushing the car down the ramp, experimenting and problem solving with more or less books to make it steeper/smaller. You can draw a car park on some paper, make a map etc etc. Adding cereal creates a whole new sensory aspect and children love running wheels through the cereal and crunching it.
You can gather things from your gardens or your walks and make a minibeast tray or you can use the checklist attached and go out exploring to see what you can find in the world around you. Discuss the different habitats with your children, the different sizes of the minibeasts, how many legs do they have, do they walk crawl or fly? Where would you go if you could fly? Also find books/videos about minibeasts and talk about them.
Diggers, trains and cars!
Diggers and cornflakes can keep children busy for quite a while! It’s so simple but so fun. You could add pots and get the children to transport the cereal from one area to another. Talk about the different types of vehicles and what they do, can you spot any from your windows? How many? Maybe keep a tally chart.
This is one of my favourites! This does get messy so maybe a good idea outside with some water and towels at the ready. In the picture below they have made an ice cream tough tray. (We have done a similar activity making ice cream dough at pre school, you use 3/4 cup conditioner and 1 1/4 cup cornflour to make the ice cream like dough). You can add toppings etc to make it really fun! Also with the shaving foam you can add colours, easy to clean toys such as diggers, duplo, aqua beads. If you have piping bags you can fill them with the foam and let the children pipe the foam.
Books with props!
Bring a book to life with props. You can do this easily with things from around the home or drawings that help the children to act out the book and have even more fun and extend their learning. You can add in numbers to help with counting and letters to help with letter recognition and forming. On its own sand in a tray is a really useful resource for us at pre school as the children can practice letter formation in a fun way and any mistakes are easily shaken away. I’ve popped a picture at the bottom.
Another lovely idea is to collect fallen leaves and flowers and put them into a container with water and freeze them, do this part with the children and talk to them about what you’re doing. Show them the ice when it has frozen and let them experiment and play with the ice to watch it dissolve.
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