Making and using learning trays

Close to the top of the list of my must-have homeschooling tools for my Littles and Middles are my learning trays.

They are a great way of organizing learning games and tools, designating learning “areas”, and making learning mobile.

I have three wooden trays that I purchased from Hobby Lobby.  They have a nice variety of sizes to accommodate your needs.  Personally, I like the two larger sizes.  They give the kids a little more space to spread out.

A blank wooden tray just waiting for some personality!

I painted each of the trays with acrylic paint.  Two of them I splurged on by decorating them a bit, and I the largest one I painted a solid green.  I then coated them with a clear protectant to keep the paint from being chipped off.

After painting, coat each tray with a clear protectant.

I filled the largest tray with sand for our preschooler, Ms. Giggles (4), to practice her letter-writing in.  I draw a letter in the sand, and she copies that letter.  This is one of her favorite ways of practicing her writing skills.

Ms. Giggles practicing her letter "S".

We use the other learning trays with the parts of speech identification and sentence forming exercises…

Ms. Lovebug (9) working with parts of speech.

…learning to identify and count money…

Working with money.

…putting together tangrams…

Ms. Independent (6) learning with tangrams.

…and with fraction circles, just to name a few!

Ms. Lovebug (9) working with fraction circles.

I am always looking for new learning ideas and projects to use the trays for.

Got any?

Always in God’s hands,


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4 responses to “Making and using learning trays

  1. What creative ideas! I just love fun, hands-on education for children. I don’t have beautifully painted trays like you do, but for my kids, I have some little baskets with state and capital matching cards that I made. One other has a money matching activity. There are three sets that need to be matched: one is in words, one is pictorial and the other is numerical. I also have a states and their abbreviation cards that I made. I am thinking of doing something in the near future with the presidents. I’m still thinking about that one. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  2. I use metal cookie sheets with sides….magnets stick to them and with the sides, beads and other small objects won’t roll off easily. A roasting pan holds rice which becomes a landscape for dinosaurs and can be used for hidden treasures. You could use some chalkboard paint and some magnetic paint on those trays. We recently salvages old cabinet doors and after painting in colors that we wanted we painted the raised panel with many coats of magnetic paint and then with chalkboard paint.

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