09 April 2006

Cafeteria tray keeps crafts contained

Polly's good idea:

When I do crafts with my children (painting, playdough, etc.), I have them sit at the table with a cafeteria tray.  The edges help items from falling onto the table or floor and it is easy to clean.

[Also good when kids are drawing with markers -- the paper and markers fit on the tray, the table is protected from ink, and the markers don't roll onto the floor. Good for kids who prefer to draw on the floor, too, especially if you have carpet. -- Ed.]

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We use a tray when playing with wooden beads. The boy gets to dump the container out and refill it as often as he likes, and I don't have to spend quite as long retrieving beads from the under the furniture. :-)

My son has a tray that he often uses for puzzles, Legos and small toys like Magnetix (keeps the little balls from rolling away!) Old cookie sheets work well for this purpose too.

We also saved a large, sturdy piece of cardboard from an 11 x 17" pad of paper, along with the cover page. All the paper inside has been used up...but it's GREAT for doing puzzles on! He can fold the cover back over the cardboard to protect the puzzle and pieces when he is not working on it.

Ooh! I love the cookie sheet idea.

We use a cheapo breakfast in bed tray for playdoh and such. It's great and she can sit anywhere.

We do the exact same thing with an old metal cookie sheet. In addition to edges and a big flat hard surface, it works well with magnetic letters and such.

As a preschool teacher, I learned that there were many toys that were simply used to dump on the floor, but that when they were presented at a table in a small quantity they were suddenly used for the intended purpose. I used old wet wipes boxes for holding just a few small legos, ring-a-lings, Lincoln logs, etc.

Beware of Magnetix

As far as the Magnetix, I suggest not keep the Magnetix-brand building toys in your house if you have any younger kiddos. Some serious safety issues have arisen lately, see http://spaces.msn.com/magnetscankill.

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