08 February 2010

Contain small-parts toy play with a tray, cookie sheet or roasting pan

perler.jpgKobie's hack solves two problems at once -- mess and babyproofing:

My daughters have recently discovered the delight of playing with HAMA beads (also known as Perler beads or fuse beads). This is small beads that you stack in a pattern and then iron to form a picture. When they started this hobby my middle daughter was four and rather clumsy so we were always picking more beads up from the floor than off the table. Having a 1 year-old didn't make this very safe. I happened on my roasting tray and gave this to her in a moment of genius and problem solved! She now works with the beads in the tray so we now have virtually no mess! This also works for collage making, play dough or any other games or hobbies that have tiny bits needing to be contained.

Yes! We happened upon this hack when my son got one of those million-part LEGO sets as a birthday gift. We used a cookie sheet, and, eventually, found some spare trays which we now just store with the LEGOs. Good use for disposable foil or plastic trays as well.

Expand this hack to any messy or small-parts activity: sand play, small jigsaw puzzles, even messy marker drawing and eating (keeps stuff off the table better than a placemat).

Your comments

Feed Follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I've heard you can spread a quilt or blanket on the floor to contain small LEGOs and make cleanup easier.
Stefani W.

One of the first things I bought J when he became a "preschooler" was a cookie sheet of his own. Useful for so many things. It's also great for magnetic things such as letters and numbers.

I use this all the time, it´s a Montessori thing. It teaches the kids to limit themselves to a certain space, and also to finish one activity and put it away before starting another. The tray must have handles and be big enough for the kid to carry by themselves.
The mat on the floor is used by the Montessori method for the same purpose.

A carving board with a well along the edge to corral pieces also works well for this.

We close comments after a month to guard against spam. Want to talk about this hack? Join us on Twitter and Facebook!

 

Free updates

  • Subscribers are my VIPs. My weekly newsletter includes a personal update, the latest from Parent Hacks, interesting links and news.

    Subscribers also get priority event invitations and occasional surprises via snail mail.

Asha's Book

  • At Amazon: Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less

    Find out why doing less is the key to resourceful, thriving kids, and a calmer, happier YOU.

    Minimalist Parenting is an encouraging roadmap for decluttering your schedule, your home, and your vision for family life. Reviewers call it "a much welcome alternative to the usual parenting advice."

    Learn More at Amazon

    Also available at Barnes & Noble or your favorite local bookstore.

New Book Coming Soon!

  • Coming soon: Parent Hacks Book

Start Amazon shopping here