Both sets of our tot trays in March were for holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Easter), so it was exciting to put together some tot trays that weren’t related to a holiday. We did a space theme for tot school and I have to say, these were some of my favorite trays to put together. I’m pretty sure they were some of Smiley Man’s favorite tot trays too. He loves them!
Smiley Man is 23 months old.
Nuts and Bolts
I got two sets of nuts and bolts (they were a dollar each at our hardware store) and put them on the tray. I also put some pictures of spaceships on this tray. The idea is that Smiley Man uses the nuts and bolts to make a spaceship or to repair the spaceships. He loves playing with this tray.
Transfer “planets” onto “Space”
This tray has a bowl with 8 pokey balls in it. Smiley Man uses tongs to transfer the “planets” onto a piece of black construction paper that is supposed to look like space. Smiley Man loves using the tongs, but he also loves just playing with the pokey balls. The texture is fascinating to him.
Clip Planet Clothespins onto a Bowl
This tray has 8 clothespins, each with a different planet taped to it. I got the printable for the planets here (It’s the Planet Coloring Page & Handout near the bottom). Smiley Man is supposed to clip each clothespin onto the bowl. This tot tray is pretty tricky for Smiley Man because he doesn’t really know how to do clothespins yet. He is learning though and before I know it, my toddler will be an expert with clothespins.
Pasta Hide and Seek
This tot tray has a container full of pasta. In the pasta are some pictures of planets and stars. The planets are from the same printable that I used for the clothespins. I also found a bunch of stars which I put into a printable. You can get it here. Smiley is supposed to pull the pictures out one at a time and sort them into two piles (planets and stars). The sorting only happens if I am doing this activity with Smiley Man, but my toddler still loves just finding the planets and stars all by himself.
Stars on Skewers
The stars are from this printable. I printed them, laminated them, then used a hole punch and punched three holes in the center. I punched three holes so that the hole would be a little bigger. The tot tray also has two skewers (painted black to look like space) stuck in some playdough. Smiley Man is supposed to pick up the stars and put them on the skewers.
(Each shape activity is only on the tray for one week. The rest of the activities are on the trays for two weeks. That means I go through two shape activity, but only one of all the other activities.)
Space Tot Book
I read this book at least once during the time that these trays are out. If Smiley Man uses this tray while I am working with Little Bear, he can color the pictures or just look at the pictures as he turns the pages. I do not in any way expect Smiley Man to learn how to read by looking at this book. This book is simply for exposure to words and letters and concepts of print.
Echo microphone. We have had this toy for a few years now, but it continues to be a favorite with both of my boys. I thought it was perfect for our Space tot school because your voice sounds alien when talking into it. Brilliant, right? ;)
- Little Kids First Big Book of Space
- What’s out There?
- If You Decide to Go to the Moon
- Smart Kids Space
Constellation Sandpaper and Yarn
I made these “constellations” by hot gluing some plastic gems onto sandpaper. My “constellations” are just basic shapes (square, rectangle, triangle, and diamond). This was a great way to get some extra shape practice in. I cut a bunch of small pieces of yarn. Smiley is supposed to put the yarn on the sandpaper to “complete” the constellation.
Glass Gems in Wipes Container
I planned on decorating the diaper wipes container so it looked more space-y, but that never happened. Luckily, Smiley Man still loves this tot tray. He simply puts the glass gems into the opening. When all the gems are inside, he opens the wipes container, dumps them out, and starts over again. We have done this with milk caps before so this is not a new game to Smiley Man, but this is the first time we have done it with glass gems and Smiley appreciated the novelty.