Inspire seasonal art and engineering with a Fall Tinker Tray for preschoolers! This flexible invitation to create allows children to work on fine motor, social, and creative skills simultaneously. The possibilities are endless!
What is a Tinker Tray?
Tinker trays are a collection of loose parts intended to spark the interest of children. The role of the adult (teacher or parent) is to collect and present the materials. The rest of the process is open ended for the children.
Tinker trays can be used as a center for a few children or as a whole group activity. The more children creating at once, the more materials you will need. Decide before presenting tinker trays to the children whether you will allow them to keep their creations or ask them to return the materials after they play.
As they create together, preschoolers are sure to model, inspire, and encourage each other in their creations. Changing the items out for the seasons can help inspire interest in new projects. Be sure to tell the families of your preschoolers about tinker trays so that they may help collect interesting items to add to the supplies.
Fall Tinker Tray
You will need:
- Tray or utensil organizer
- Natural fall items
- Chenille craft stems
- Assorted other materials
When choosing materials for a tinker tray, almost anything can be included. Even if you aren’t sure how a child may use an item in a tinker tray, you may find that they surprise you with their creations!
Include scissors and adhesives to aid children in the engineering aspect of tinker trays. Adhesives can include glue, tape, or even play dough. Be sure to consider safety and supervision when offering items to young children.
Explain to the preschoolers that they can create anything they’d like with the materials in the tinker tray. As they begin to explore, encourage oral language skills by asking questions. Model how to work collaboratively by asking others to share supplies.
Preschoolers will exclaim, “I have an idea!” and “Look what I’m making!” They will soon be asking for the tinker tray activity again and again!
BIO: Devany LeDrew is a former kindergarten teacher who writes at Still Playing School where she shares intentionally planned play based learning activities. Follow Still Playing School on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!
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