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tot trays for early learning

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Tot Trays are a wonderful way to engage your young two or three year old in learning activities!  I used to set out six tot trays for my son each week.  I did this when he turned two and a half.  We worked through the alphabet together — when May slept in or took a nap.  It was our special time together.  (I shared all of our Tot School Posts from A to Z here.)  We stopped making six trays when I realized that they weren’t holding his attention any more.  I began only making one or two around Letter H.  And then we slowly stopped later in the alphabet.  They didn’t work for his learning style.

Tot Trays with simple activity ideas - wildflower ramblings

May is now two and a half.  We have done many various little activities together.  We have sensory time, we paint, she loves coloring.

John was not able to handle his own little tray.  To bring it down on his own, set it carefully on floor or table, work on it respectfully, and then replace it back to the shelf.  He couldn’t and still can’t.  (The tray’s contents were thrown, purposely dropped, torn, etc.)  That’s okay.  Over the years and months I am understanding his needs.  Little trays are not beneficial to his learning.

But May.  I brought out these simple trays and began filling them with contents.  She couldn’t stop asking me to play with them!

Tot Trays for little ones - lots of ideas!!

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I’d love for these trays to be ready on our kitchen shelf for her one morning like the picture above!  This is hard to make a reality.  We don’t have a single homeschooling space, so if I work on something for them they will always watch me prepare it.  It takes away the element of surprise, but it also may help them to appreciate the work and effort I put in to making their learning enjoyable.

May was thrilled.  She has loved her little trays.  This type of set-up is right for her.  Well, right now.  I will always watch and see if they are engaging her and assess to make changes. But for now, I am thrilled to begin making alphabet, themed, and number Tot Trays once more.

There is definitely some work involved — but her excitement and her learning and her feeling special — it’s oh so worth it!!

(The above trays: stacking blocksLauri uppercase alphabet peg lettersLego printable from All Our Dayssnowman sort from Royal Baloolaminated color template from All Our DaysMelissa & Doug letters puzzles.)


Filling in a letter sheet with gem stones.  


Lauri uppercase alphabet peg letters,


Filling in dot sheets with magnet circles!


Lacing cards with shoelaces with Tot School printables.


Octopus printable with Do a Dot markers. 


Matching animals.


Counting cards with counting bears.

If you’re wondering where “Tot School” got its name, check out 1plus1plus1equals1’s awesome resources!

Find more ideas Tot School here.

And check out:

PicMonkey Collage-001
PicMonkey Collage-001

Follow our Tot School Pinterest Board!

Follow Amy – Wildflower Ramblings’s board Tot School & Toddlers on Pinterest.

Grab the lowercase lego abc cards here!

These free printable lego cards are easy to print and cut. Set in front of your child with a pile of Duplo Legos and have some fun and interactive letter learning time! You’ll receive the Lowercase ABC Lego Cards download link sent directly to your email!

grab the free monthly preschool chants now!

This FREE printable pack includes 24 preschool chants – two for each month of the year! Your child or student will love learning these fun and catchy preschool chants as you learn together!

Check out our Preschool Book Lists for every letter of the Alphabet!

Letter A

Letter B

Letter C

Letter D

Letter E

Letter F

Letter G

Letter H

Letter I

Letter J

Letter K

Letter L

Letter M

LEtter N

Letter O

LEtter P

LEtter Q

LEtter R

Letter S

Letter T

Letter U

LEtter V

Letter W

LEtter X

LEtter Y

Letter Z

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