There are so many ways for preschoolers to learn and play in a tray. Earlier this school year, we chatted about how to keep play in the tray for independent activities through email (want to join in the conversation?). Our new penguins in the snow fine motor tray is just another fun winter themed activity for toddlers and preschoolers to work on counting skills, fine motor strengthening, hand-eye coordination, and 1:1 correspondence. It will also promote conversation, new vocabulary, and social interaction with peers.
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Penguins in the Snow Fine Motor Tray
To set up the penguins in the snow fine motor tray, you can use just about anything you have in your supplies already! I pulled out all of my supplies that could be used as snowballs. And then I went into my fine motor kid-friendly squeezer bin and found a few options to use.
Here is a list of suggested supplies:
- plastic tray
- penguin ice cube tray (found at the dollar store)
- white pom poms
- kid-friendly squeezers and scoopers
Move forward with setting up the penguins in the snow fine motor tray with the way that your preschoolers can be successful. With activities like these, I am looking for a way to make sure that my preschoolers can work towards the expectation independently. This, of course, can only happen after the activity has been introduced and modeled.
RELATED: Penguins Fine Motor Busy Bins
Place the tray on the table. Add the penguin ice cube tray to the middle of the tray. Confession…I find myself adding things to a tray to make it easy for preschoolers who are right-handed. Because of this, I am trying to purposely change this way of thinking.
So, set the ice cube tray in the middle of the tray. Add white pom poms as snowballs all around the tray. Choose a kid-friendly squeezer or scooper and that’s it! It’s time to play!
Adapt the Way to Play
The goal of the penguins in the snow fine motor tray is to cover the penguins with snowballs. This activity is great for toddlers, young preschoolers, and even pre-k kiddos! There are some easy ways to tweak and make small changes to the original activity to create a learning tray for older and younger preschoolers to enjoy.
Play Dough Snowballs: Using white play dough as snowballs adds even more fine motor work to the activity. Pinch the play dough, roll it into a small snowball, and add it to one of the penguins on the ice cube tray.
Beat the Sand Timer: The easy way to increase the skill level of the penguins in the snow fine motor tray would be to add dice. Roll a die and add that number of snowballs to the penguin. But this can be too difficult for some younger preschoolers who have not mastered counting, number identification, and 1:1 correspondence. Instead, add a 2 minute sand timer! Have your preschoolers try to beat the timer to get the penguins buried, or just see how many snowballs they can add to the penguins before the timer runs out.
Mini Eraser Stacks: At the moment I cannot find my snowflake mini erasers. But if I could, we would be using those instead of stars for sure! Stack the mini erasers in short piles or towers. Using sturdy kid-friendly squeezers, take one eraser at a time and pick it up. Then move it to the penguin ice cube tray and drop it in. This offers a little bit of a challenge in such a fun way!
RELATED: Penguins Counting Mats
No matter which way you play, lots of fine motor strengthening is happening! My mind tries to add fine motor work to just about everything we do in the preschool classroom. My goal is to never force the fine motor skills though. I am all about keeping it creative and super duper fun!