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4 Montessori Art Trays at 2-years-old

All of a sudden Nora is looking for any excuse to create something. She really is different than Henry in that way. She loves art work and can sit for long periods of time to create her vision. I personally love this and want to cultivate it as much as possible. Doing art combines so many of skills at once. Language, fine motor, gross motor, practical life -- they all go into completing this type of work. 

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And, just look at that concentration! GAH! Love. But, because of her age, Nora isn't quite ready for a free range of art supplies. Instead, having prepared work for her where things are contained in a tray work much better. 

So, here are four Montessori inspired art trays we have out for Nora right now, and how to create them in your own environment! 

Cutting work

What you'll need:
  • Scissors 
  • Small Dish
  • Thick paper -- we used paint strips but only because I had some around. The thickness makes it a bit easier to cut at first since the paper won't flop around. 
To use this tray, Nora has been taught to cut small pieces from the paint strips over the bowl. Sometimes she just cuts where ever then places into the bowl. When she is done she empties her clippings into the garbage. 

Watercolor Painting 

What you'll need:
Nora has been taught to fill her small pitcher then use it to fill up the water glass. Then, she uses the glass to paint. She has also been shown how to empty the glass if she needs new water. This is by far the most popular -- if you couldn't tell by the state of the paint -- tray. She has been able to do this independently for a few months. 

Leaf Rubbing

What you'll need:
This is just one seasonal work on Nora's shelf. She can place the leaf under the paper and use the crayon to make a rubbing. It's interesting to her since she has to hold the crayon in a new way {flat} in order for it to work. 

Pasting Work 

What you'll need:
  • Small glass jar {or any washable container} with glue 
  • Container of foam bits -- we started with foam because its easier to manipulate than paper and won't get soaked with glue if too much is used. Once she is a bit older we will switch to paper. I cut the random shapes from sheets of foam. 
  • Glue Brush
  • Paper 
Nora has been taught to use the glue brush to rub a small amount of glue onto the piece of foam and then stick it to a piece of paper. She was also taught how to wash the brush when she's done so that it can be used another time.

Each of these trays is set up for Nora to use by herself independently. This doesn't mean she can do it perfectly. And, it especially doesn't mean that she can do it mess free. But, they are all perfect for where she is at right now and so easy to create! 

Does your child enjoy art? What types of art-related work have you set up for your toddler? 


Unknown said…
I am so impressed with how clean your watercolors look! My two year olds can't grasp the concept of washing their brush after every color. Does Nora do that? How did you teach her and how long did it take her to pick up?
Alicia K. said…
Great post, these activities will make our child improve their skill, and I always want to do it for my son.
Thanks for sharing it. It makes me have some fresh ideas.
I just paint with her a lot! So, does Henry. Model, model, model!
Unknown said…
Where do you get your trays? Do they come finished/painted or do you do that yourself?
Kemala said…
Great post, these activities will make our child improve their skill, and I always want to do it for my son.
Thanks for sharing it. It makes me have some fresh ideas.

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