Learning Trays – Sorting Coloured Pompoms

Learning Trays Activities
What the Activity Involves?
Sorting Coloured Pompoms is fabulous hands-on fine motor learning tray.  It is so simple to set up, colourful, engaging and is sure to grab the attention of any child!  The Sorting Coloured Pompoms Learning Tray involves the child sorting different coloured pompoms using miniature tongs and matching them to the relevant coloured jar.  This activity can be adapted for different abilities by adding more colour pompoms to match to the jars or less as pictured for the learning only two colours at a time.   It is a repetitive activity that requires concentration, fine motor control and coordination and is great for learning yours colours.
What you will need:
Sorting Coloured Pompoms
You will need mini tongs, coloured pompoms,  jars or containers and the Printable Coloured Dots.
Click here to download and print–>  Printable Coloured Dots
Learning Trays Collage a
Learning Opportunities
  • Fine motor control
  • Hand and eye coordination
  • Concentration and problem solving
  • Determination and perseverance to accomplish a task
  • Colours and patterns
  • Matching, sorting and classifying
What is a learning tray - montessori inspiredClick on the links to find out more….
What is a Learning Tray?
Why Learning Trays?
More Learning Tray Activity Ideas
Learning 4 kids

Learning Tray – Threading Beads

Fine Motor Learning Tray Activities
What the Activity Involves?
Threading beads onto pipe cleaners is a fabulous fine motor learning tray activity for toddlers and kids.  It is so simple to set up, colourful, engaging and is sure to grab the attention of any child!
The Threading Beads Learning Tray involves the child threading beads onto the pipe cleaners.  It is a repetitive activity that requires concentration and fine motor control and coordination.
What you will need? 
Threading Beads
You will need a tray, pipe cleaners and threading beads that will fit over the pipe cleaners. I cut our pipe cleaners in half to create more and presented them on the tray glass jar with beads in a bowl for easy access and organisation.
Tip: To stop the beads threading off the pipe cleaner, we slightly bent one end of the pipe cleaner so it was thicker and prevented the bead coming off. 
Fine Motor Learning Tray Activities 2
Learning opportunities:
  • Fine motor control
  • Hand and eye coordination
  • Concentration and problem solving
  • Determination and perseverance to accomplish a task
  • Colours and patterns
This post is part of our Learning Trays Series, click on the links below to find out more….
What is a learning tray - montessori inspired
What is a Learning Tray?
Why Learning Trays?
More Learning Tray Activity Ideas
Learning 4 kids

Planting a Garden

Imaginative Play - Planting a Garden
Imaginative play would have to be one of my most favourite kinds of play.  I love how children can freely explore an imaginary world and benefit so much from it. 
We have been spending a fair bit of time in our garden with the beautiful warm summery weather.  As a follow on activity to our Spring Play Dough and to re-enact our time spent in the garden I thought I would set up this invitation to play imaginatively, Planting a Garden.
My girls spent hours planting, re-planting, weeding, sprinkling seeds and watering their imaginative play garden.
You can find out more about what imaginative play is and how to encourage it with kids by following the link: What is Imaginative Play and How to Encourage it?
What you will need?
Planting a Garden 2
We have re-used our Fake Flowers from our Create a Scented Spring Play Dough Garden Activity and the Styrofoam is recycled from a cardboard box from a parcel we received.
Planting a Garden 3
To create an imaginative play garden, you press the firm wire stems from the fake flowers into the Styrofoam.  Miss 2 had no trouble pressing them into the Styrofoam but if this is of a concern, you can always pre-make some holes for your child to place the flower stems into. 
This activity is such a wonderful way to also practice those fine motor skills!
For older kids, such as my Miss 5 and 6, they created flower garden patterns, alternating certain flowers to create patterns of colours and flower types.
Planting a Garden 4
Miss 2 pretending to water her garden that she created with the Styrofoam and fake flowers.  She was also making swishing sounds to go with the watering, priceless!
Planting a Garden 5
The magic of imaginative play….. Miss 2 sprinkling her garden with flower seeds from a small container and Miss 5 watering them into the ground.
Learning Benefits of Imaginative Play:
  • It provides opportunities for children to identify with the adult world.  Practise and role play their understanding and interpretation.
  • Develop social skills: practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing. Provides opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.
  • Emotional development: Understanding and expressing their feelings through the re-enactment of certain experiences.  Taking on roles that encourage discipline and empathy.
  • Encourages imagination: Children can be anyone and do anything in the pretend world.
  • Develop language skills: practising listening, looking and talking.  Being spoken to and talking with other people, also developing an understanding of what is being communicated through body language such as smiles and nodding.
  • I also believe that imaginative play is a great way for children to relax and unwind from their busy lives.
More Imaginative Play:
Learning 4 kids

Rainbow Salt Tray

Pre writing activities
Why would you need crayons, textas, pencils and paper to draw when you can have more fun with a Rainbow Salt Tray!  Draw pictures, create patterns and practise writing your name with this simple to make Rainbow Salt Tray.  The greatest thing about a Rainbow Salt Tray is that it is cheap to set up, educational, you will find all the items around the home and it will entertain the littlies for hours!
A Rainbow Salt Tray is a great activity for kids of all ages, my 22 month old had a go and my 6 year old also had a play.  I just adapted and encouraged some ideas for them to try as they played.
What you will need?
You will need 5 basic things to create your very own Rainbow Salt Tray: about 100g cooking salt, sticky tape, coloured paper, a tray (see below for some ideas) and a paint brush.
  1. Cut the paper to fit and cover the base of the tray in order of the colours of a rainbow.   
  2. Place sticky tape over the joins of the paper to avoid the salt moving underneath the coloured paper.
  3. Cover the paper lightly with salt.
Tip: Only a small amount of salt is required for this activity as too much can make it harder to see the drawings.  You can also make your tray any colour you would like, possibly your child’s favourite colour, whatever motivates or interests them! 
Some ideas to use for a tray:
  • The lid to a plastic tub or container.
  • A cardboard box with the side cut down to size if needed.
  • A medium to large plastic container that has low sides.
Time to Play!
There are SO MANY things you can do with a Rainbow Salt Tray – here are a few ideas to try!
The Rainbow Salt Tray is a great activity for Miss 4 to practise writing her name and for Miss 22 months exploring the cause and effect of what happens when using the paint brush in the salt.  I think the look on her face says it all – FUN!
The Rainbow Salt Tray is a fabulous motivator to get kids who need that extra support to learn how to write their names.  The fun is watching the colours come through when writing and drawing in the salt. 
Miss 4 loves her numbers at the moment but is reluctant to try and write the ‘more difficult’ shape numbers such as 2 and 5.  She was more willing to have a go in the salt tray because she could so easily shake the tray and try again!  I also lightly formed their shaped in the salt for her to copy and trace over.
Miss 6 practising her current sight words, no boring paper and pencils here!
The Rainbow Salt Tray is great for encouraging creativity, with the freedom to make patterns and pictures.
Pre-writing skills actvities 
Shake it and start again!  Hours of fun!!
Learning benefits of playing with a Rainbow Salt Tray:
  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor Development – Pre-writing skills
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Cause and Effect
  • Spatial awareness – experimenting with shape and space
Eye spy with my little eye, I spot other great salt tray activities around the web!
Laughing Kids Learn - Salt Drawing or Writing
Teach Preschool - Feather Tip Salt Tray Writing
Thanks so much for visiting! xx
Learning 4 kids

A Fun Game for Building Fine Motor

In the early years, we often hear discussions about the importance of fine motor and gross motor development in kids. Here is a great activity that is fun and exercises those little muscles to develop strength!
Mr Dad and I played this game with Miss 3 (at the time) and Miss 5 and it got very competitive at times but loads of FUN!
Miss 5′s hands were getting sore; she gave them a great work out!
You will need
There are no real fixed items that you will need for this game, you can be creative with things that you already have around the home!
You could use anything small that you can pick up with tongs or tweezers. We used coloured pom poms and match sticks from our craft box. These items can be found in local craft shops and discount stores. Pop sticks, dry pasta and small toys are other ideas of you could use.
You will also need some baskets, bowls or some other form of container to place the pom poms and match sticks in. We used 4 baskets for our game, one for each player and then later one for each colour.
Playing the game
We set a challenge- You need to get as many match sticks or pom poms into your basket without touching them with your hands! When they are all gone, we stop and see who gotthe most!
The element of a challenge creates a motivation and an interest. You could also set a timer and when the timer stops, count how many you were able to get.
To add another dimension to the game we added our colours cards to sort the pom poms and matchsticks into groups.    
Each player was given one coloured card and their task was to collect only that colour. Who will finish first? Then we swapped our colour cards. You will be surprised at how quick the kids get at this when you set them a challenge.  This is also a great activity for learning and reinforcing our colours.
The importance of fine motor development
It is important for young children to develop their fine motor skills. It helps to develop their muscles within their fingers and wrists. It is important for these muscles to be strengthened so that they are strong enough to hold and control a pencil for writing. Manipulating tweezers, tongs or other similar items to pick up match sticks or pompoms is a fun and effective way of getting those little muscles the exercise to develop strength.
Click here to download and print:
Printable Coloured Dots
Thanks for reading!
Learning 4 kids
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