11 Music Tot Trays!

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This theme got added in at the last minute thanks to a music-related kids event we decided to attend! While we had several more ideas too, we went a little simpler all around. But here are the 11 music tot trays we came up with!

  1. DIY Shakers
  2. Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb & Drum
  3. Baby Einstein Piano
  4. Music Note Punching
  5. Dry Erase “Sheet Music”
  6. Music Note Dough Tray
  7. Xylophone
  8. Piano Paper Piecing
  9. Music Instrument Flash Cards
  10. Gem Music Note Match
  11. Music Exploration

DIY Shakers

  • Adapted from an idea from Paging Fun Mums — thank you!
  • In a silicone tray I put six various ‘noise-making’ items: plastic heart gems, Panda Puffs cereal, bells, ring pasta (previously dyed red/pink from Valentine’s Day), unfinished wooden checkers, and dried peas
  • Included six different clear containers with lids to make shakers

Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb & Drum

Baby Einstein Piano

  • I decided to put out what is truly the BEST electronic toy for babies/toddlers! The Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano; I don’t think this is really available anymore.
  • It’s always been an “upstairs” toy and as it is something he knows well, I liked the idea of tying it into the music theme

Music Note Punching

  • A simple favorite — a music note hole punch and some thin papers

Dry Erase “Sheet Music”

  • Found a simple staff with a bass clef
  • Enlarged them a bit and printed three on a page
  • Laminated this and put it on the dry erase side of his easel

Music Note Dough Tray

  • Going out on a limb a little here — but want to include dough as often as possible!
  • Gave him some new white play dough
  • For “music notes” I included several black gems and pieces of both leather-like cord and velvet-like ribbon
  • Also included a cookie turner, old circular tray (from an old rice cooker, I think!) and a tray from the IKEA DUKTIG baking set


  • More open-ended musical exploration with the wonderful True Tone Xylophone from Lakeshore Learning
  • Included the little set of sheet music this came with
  • In the future, I’d love to make him his own music (“Just like Caillou,” says E)

Piano Paper Piecing

  • Modeled this after the “Make a Keyboard activity by Debbie Dee — thank you!
    First I used Publisher to make a set of white piano keys, using a rectangle with rounded edges. Printed this in B&W on regular paper.
  • To help coordinate the size for black keys, I saved one of these white keys as a JPG and loaded in Silhouette Studio
  • Then I sized this down until the size looked right, and cut out several in black cardstock
  • Gave him the sheet of white keys, black keys, and glue!

Music Instrument Flash Cards

  • Printed flash cards from Kids Pages — thank you!

Gem Music Note Match

  • Totally got this idea from B Inspired Mama and And Next Comes L — thank you so much!
    With a Sharpie, I made music notes (reversed) on the flat part of large gems
  • After letting ink dry for an hour, I painted on a layer of Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic Glue
  • Then, while realizing I could have used the Silhouette for the gems, I cut one each of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes on white sticker paper
  • Put each white sticker on a container
  • Match the gems to the right container!

Music Exploration

  • This roundabout tray had a potential to be a sensory bin, but I went with a tray instead
  • Using the Silhouette I cut several notes and other music icons on black cardstock
  • I also included several sheets of music that I found via Bing image search
  • Finally, I added four highlighters to ‘mark up’ the music
  • The intent is that he could look around the sheet music and find the big cut out shapes.

Things are just a little too busy lately! That’s the good thing about planning a few weeks of school at a time!

Probably the most exciting thing about our music tot trays week was E getting to play D’s real guitar. E got a hang of it right away! He also played with our big keyboard. And funny how things work out; we went to a wedding that weekend where the couple were both music majors as well! Quite a funny coincidence.

Need some more ideas for music tot school or music-themed preschool? Check out my Pinterest board!
Follow smartE partE’s board Music – Tot School & Preschool on Pinterest.

Next up is Airplanes. We already know how busy things are going to be so we are actually not going to switch anything out; just leave up the same set all week.

After this busy week D & I are going to sit an evaluate school in general. In the fall, so many more activities are available and we need to analyze how it all fits together. It’s all quite an adventure!

Linked up over at 1+1+1=1’s Tot School Gathering Place, Montessori Monday, Everything Kids Link & Pin Party, Inspire Me Mondays, Learn and Play Link-Up, Motivation Monday, Practical Mondays, Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Good Tips Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, Parenting Pin It Party, Everything Early Childhood Link Up, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, Mommy Solutions, The Homeschool Link-Up, Shine Blog Hop, A Little Bird Told Me Link Party, Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, This Homeschooling Life, Kitchen Fun & Crafty Friday, Small Victories Sunday, and at Mom’s Library!

Cool Books for Music Tot Trays

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9 thoughts on “11 Music Tot Trays!

  1. My 2 year old loves music and making noise and these are such perfect ideas to keep her occupied and instill that love of music as well. She loves hand, hand fingers thumb (we read it almost every day on the hour every hour lol), so I’m definitely trying your idea that coincides with that book. Thanks so much for sharing these great ideas with us on #SHINEbloghop. We’re so happy to have you 🙂

    • Thank you! We had so much fun with “tot school” at 2 and 3 years old! Thank you for visiting from the #SHINEbloghop!

  2. I’m commenting to let you know that this post was chosen as one of our featured favorite articles for tomorrow’s Hop post on Hip Homeschool Moms. In case you’d like to share it, the shortlink, which will go live when the Hop post goes live in the morning, is http://wp.me/p1swZe-bjz. We hope you’ll keep coming back to link up with us!

    Wendy (co-owner of Hip Homeschool Moms)

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