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February 15, 2018

First Art Tray - Montessori Young Toddler Week 11

Lately, Gus has been so super interested in the art supplies that Nora and Henry are using in our art area. Every time they sit down to work, there he is looking for something to get involved with. So, I figured it's time for him to have an art tray of his own! And, I made him his very first art tray! 

A Montessori toddler's first art tray - a look at how we introduce art supplies in a Montessori home

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I kept it simple this time! It's just a small tray, with a small glass sauce dish, 2-3 rock crayons, and some paper. The dish is from a local store, but any small container (like this) would work really well. We choose rock crayons because they help to encourage proper grip from the start. Small chunks of broken regular crayons also have this effect. Keeping it small makes sure that a pincer grip is used and not a whole hand grasp.

Everything is neatly organized on the tray for toddlers. Unlike Nora and Henry, who use open ended art supplies, a tray is a necessity. This is for a few reasons: 

  • making it easier to take off the shelf since everything a toddler needs is accessible on the tray
  • easier to physically move from the shelf to a work table 
  • easier to see the purpose of the activity 
  • easier to restore the materials when finished with the work 
Eventually (like in a couple years), Gus will be able to freely access art supplies, without a tray. But, right now he would have too hard of a time gathering paper, then crayons, then moving it all to the table, then sitting down to work. It just wouldn't happen. This way, its just one tray to move and everything is accessible! 

A Montessori toddler's first art tray - a look at how we introduce art supplies in a Montessori home

Since placing the work on the art shelves, Gus has shown some interest. We redirect him to his work when he shows interest in the older children's supplies (which he is just not ready for). But, mostly his interest lies in taking the crayons out of the bowl and putting them back in. Or, tasting the crayons! Both explorations are totally alright and we just keep modeling for him. 

What was the first art supplies you gave to your toddler?  


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golb said…
So cool! Are the rock crayons safe to taste? That is my only concern, as my little one still will taste everything first (and second.. and third...)
Unknown said…
Hmm yes I have the same problem, I think these are not supposed to be used by under threes in case they swallow them. Do you just watch him like a hawk every time he goes near them?