Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Everything Stays on the Tray!

Moon Dough on the tray!
When my youngest was two, I became so excited by the idea of sensory bins. Thank you Pintrest!  I made the colored rice, the mood dough, and bought the kinetic sand. All three kids were so happy!  It was quiet and I read. 

I thought it was the answer, until I noticed the mess on the floor and table.  I didn't think the hour of clean up was worth the half hour of read aloud. 

A few weeks later, I was reading about Montessori methods.  I noticed the trays they were using for their works. Although I could not see my children doing the same works, I decided to apply the same concept and re-vamp sensory bins.

I use a container similar to this for moon dough, water beads, and kinetic sand.  This is just the right amount to play with and it stores easily, as they stack. They also fit nicely on a tray. 

I have a cheap, plastic tray for each child, that they must use in order to use a sensory bin.  My trays were about $1 at Ikea but I have seen them at Christmas Tree Shop, Walmart and other retailers priced similarly.

Kinetic Sand with some tools is a favorite!
My youngest has understood from the age of 3 that everything has to stay on the tray.  Yes, it bears repeating and reminding a million times.  Everything stays on the tray! 

If, I see the sensory items straying off the tray, I remind them.  If it continues, they loose the sensory bin for a few days.  Although that happened at the beginning it hasn't happened recently.

I am now a super, cool mom when I give my child Kinetic sand, water beads or Play-doh at the kitchen table!  This is really just how to squeeze in extra reading time with toddler! 

The kids are used to using the trays now, so they use them all the time, on their own. Mom win! 

A few weeks after using the trays consistently, I added in the child sized broom and dustpan as part of the clean up routine.  Honestly, the amount on the floor is minimal and it reminds the child to clean everything up when they are done.

I was so convinced of the ease of sensory bins that  I gave water beads, moon dough, and colored rice to a friend for her toddler. Unfortunately, I forgot to give her the trays! I told her about them, but I did not purchase them for her. She left the sensory bins on the porch for her daughter to play with and it was mess!  (see first photo!) 
Who wouldn't want to dive into waterbeads?

The amazingly brave mom persevered and tried the last colored rice sensory bin on a tray. It has been a success! Now there is a happy mom making dinner and a happy toddler playing near here! 

People of all ages love the feel of sensory bins, so train them now to use trays and it will be a joy for years! 

Just remember and repeat: Everything stays on the tray!  Then, enjoy a good half hour of quiet kids!

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