One of the most challenging aspects of my home school is making sure that my toddlers are able to be included in our learning or at least kept busy when it’s too advanced. Sure they can learn alongside the big ones, but that can often result in messes, mayhem, and sometimes a lot of frustration for the big kids and for me! Fortunately Mother Goose Time, our favorite preschool curriculum comes to the rescue by providing age appropriate learning activities in the toddler supplement, Little Goose.
Here are three of our favorite “tray play” activities from Science Lab with Little Goose!
1. Hopping Corn Jar
As always Little Goose works to build specific skills. For instance, in this activity the kids are gaining scientific reasoning. They have no idea! They are busy having a blast combining all kinds of different ordinary kitchen items to make popcorn kernels dance!
- clear jar with lid
- baking soda
- popping corn kernels
- food coloring (optional)
Mix the following ingredients in a clear jar and tightly seal the lid.
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tbsp baking soda
- 6 Tbsp vinegar
- popping corn kernels
- Invite the child to observe the corn rise and pop and fall back to the bottom of the jar.
- Draw picture of the corn.
The kids really enjoyed being able to shake baking soda and vinegar combined in a bottle. They were tickled by the bubbles and loved watching the popcorn kernels dance. When we added a little bit of food coloring to the mixture, the baby was significantly more impressed. I love watching him start to get excited about learning and discovering how much fun we’re all having with homeschooling.
2. Pendulum Towers
We had some fun with physical science! The kids thought this was just the best thing ever. I think they set the blocks back up at least 50 times and then wanted to play again while I put together dinner. Even the big kids got into the act by helping set up the blocks a few times in exchange for getting to knock it down with the ball.
- whiffle balls
- yarn (or shoe lace)
- Thread the yarn through the whiffle ball and tape it to the bottom of a table.
- Hang the yarn so that the ball hangs just above the ground.
- Place a tray of blocks under the table.
- Invite the child to build block towers then push the pendulum to try to knock them down.
A little bit of tape added to the end of the yarn made it possible to attach the pendulum to the bottom of a table. My toddler loved knocking them down, but wasn’t sure at first about rebuilding the blocks. His big siblings were more than happy to help him build palaces and forts and giant campsites all in the interest of knocking them down again!
3. Tube Tunnel
Self direction is the skill set focused on with this activity. All my kids loved this game, although the older set were a little rougher than cardboard and glue can withstand, so we saved some of the set up just for the little guy. He had a blast!
- recycled tubes or paper rolled into cylinders
- ping pong balls
- Tape tubes on the wall.
- Invite the child to put a ball in any tube and observe as it rolls down and comes out the bottom.
A hot glue gun to attach the rolls to the cardboard box backdrop made putting this tray play activity together a cinch. My 15 month old played with this activity for an entire language arts lesson with my first grader! It was a life saver. I highly recommend this one.
If you are interested in reading more about our experience with Mother Goose Time, check out our curriculum page!
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As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.