I am always looking for new and interesting ways to entice children to play, create and learn. I have a large collection of baskets, bowls, trays and containers at home and at school but recently bought a clear section platter with separate compartments. It cost $3.00 and I am pretty excited because it allows me to set up some interesting invitations to explore various materials and I haven't used it yet for the intended purpose although think it will be great for snack time!!
1. Colour Sorting
Stick pieces of paper or card with the colours you are teaching around the edges of the platter and provide the children with many different textured objects to sort. Discuss the colour names and the objects as the child sorts them.
Write the numbers from 1-6 on card and put them in the sections of the plate. Place any objects in the middle that can be used for counting. You could use dried beans, pasta, buttons, counters, small toys or shells. Help your child to identify the numbers and count the objects correctly. Older children could have the numbers 10-16 or any multiples of ten.
3. Invitation To Play
Children are definitely more inclined to explore play situations when objects are presented to them in a creative, orderly and interesting way. Try to use natural materials with little toys and change these regularly to encourage your child to explore, create and play. Just wait and see how creative and absorbed your child can be.
4. Playdough Storeage
Use the platter to hold materials to extend the learning at the playdough table. Absolutely anything can be used in conjunction with the playdough depending on what theme you are talking about. As we have just had Mother's Day, this was a pretend baking station. I put out materials to make playdough cup cakes... sprinkles, patty cases, spoons, doilies, match sticks and playdough.
5. Threading Station
Here I gave the children a variety of threading materials including straws, pasta, a variety of wooden and plastic beads and cardboard shapes. You could include felt, material, shells with wholes, bottle tops or patty cases. Anything can be used as long as you can put a whole in the object.
6. Invitation To Get Crafty
I used the platter as a craft storage container. I included glue, scissors and a variety of craft materials. Use your imagination to fill each compartment with interesting and creative materials. Your child will love using anything you can find as long as they have glue!!
Try using the platter in your home or classroom and see what a great and versatile resource it is.
Let me know what you think.