I am excited to have my good blogging friend Vanessa from Mama's Happy Hive sharing with you all today as part of the A-Z's of Sensory Play for Kids series. She has some great Montessori inspired sensorial, practical life, and fine motor train tot trays for you.
Little Bee (my toddler son) and I enjoyed exploring this T is for train tot trays. All of these tot trays are easy to assemble if you have a printer and a laminator at home. I love using simple materials for our tot trays and this collection of activities has a ton of awesome free printables and easy to find materials. I hope this unit study will inspire you to assemble your own tot trays.
Number Train Transfer
Our first tot tray that we explored was a do-a-dot number train printable. In our home we love to use Montessori inspired transfer activities that help to develop a toddlers fine motor skills. For this activity, I set up a tray with a bowl of small rocks, a spoon, and the free train printable (laminated for durability.) Please note that using a spoon for a transferring tool requires the child to concentrate on balancing the object being transferred.
I observed as Little Bee carefully balanced the rocks on the spoon as he moved them from one spot to the next. Once he transferred the rocks onto the train printable, then he carefully lined the rocks* up within each circle with his fingers. As he rearranged the rocks into the circles, we counted the number of rocks together.
*Please note that any of the small objects (rocks, buttons, pompoms) used in this post could pose a choking risk for a child. Please use parental discretion and never leave your child alone with these objects if you have any concerns.
The next tray is also a transfer activity using pompoms, tongs, and do-a-dot train printables. The tongs require a different set of fine motor skills for transferring than the spoon. The toddler has to learn how to pinch the tongs together with one hand (or two hands working together) and then master the skill of picking up, transferring, and then letting the object go. This is an excellent fine motor skill and requires eye-hand coordination.
Rainbow Freight Train
One of Little Bee's favorite books is “Freight Train” by Donald Crews. I was delighted when I found this Rainbow Freight Train printable that matches the illustrations in the book. I printed, cut, and laminated each piece of the train for durability. Little Bee enjoyed exploring the different pieces of the train and I helped him line them up in order of the rainbow colors. Please visit our Montessori Inspired Toddler Rainbow Unit loaded with fun activities for learning about the colors of the rainbow.
Educational Wooden Train Toys
Little Bee is two years-old and some of his favorite toys are trains and trucks. He really enjoys this simple train track (pictured below) and magnetic train cars from IKEA. He loves to rearrange the train tracks and snap/unsnap the train cars. He also really loves his stackable wooden train. There are several wooden block pieces that fit onto the train pegs and the train cars detach/reattach easily. Here is a Melissa and Doug stackable train that is similar. Both of these educational toys entertain Little Bee for hours at a time.
Number Roads (Tracks)
I printed these race car number printables for our Transportation Unit for Little Bee to drive his match box cars along the little roads. However, he thought it was great fun to actually drive his train cars along these number printables instead. He took his tray outside and played for 40 minutes with this activity.
Shadow Matching Activity
Matching activities are wonderful for developing pre-reading skills. This train printable encourages a child to match a colored object to a grey shadow. This is wonderful for helping children distinguish a similar shape even if the colors are different.
Children love when you can engage all their senses with learning. Incorporating a train whistle into this train unit study adds an element of auditory fun! Little Bee loves to sing songs about trains and when the train “choo-choos” in a song, we have a blast blowing our whistle.
Train Preschool Printables
The final trays that I am sharing with you today are from a Train Preschool Pack and from the blog, A Kids Heart. I laminated these printables and let Little Bee color on them with a dry erase marker. That way he could practice drawing lines, circles, and squares. Although, I put no pressure on him to actually draw them correctly. These trays were merely for toddler drawing fun. However, I wanted to include these cute printables because I think a preschool aged child would love them!
Please stop by and visit our Montessori Inspired Transportation Unit that was created to match this T is for Train Tot Trays post. You may also enjoy our DIY Cardboard Community Service Buildings and Roads. Thanks for your visit! Please have a wonderful day.
For more sensory ideas, follow my Sensory Fun Pinterest board and the A-Z's of Sensory Play for Kids series.