9 Art Tot Trays!

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We only have a few more weeks until homeschool gets just a bit more formal. So, in that time we want to introduce some broad concepts. For example, we are doing “art” this week, to show him more about the subject as a whole. So far we have Alphabet and Science coming up too! But first, here are our 9 creative art tot trays!

(If you are interested, check out 13 Art Preschool Trays!)

  1. Mixed Media Birdhouse
  2. Salt Pouring & Cleanup
  3. Colored Salt “Sand Art”
  4. Clip Color Wheel
  5. Famous Art
  6. Color Mixing Dough Tray
  7. Coloring in One Color
  8. How to Draw Sheets
  9. Square Collages


Mixed Media Birdhouse

  • Gave him a wooden birdhouse to start with
  • He doesn’t usually get white glue with school so this was a surprise! Put a little glue in a dip container with a lid and included a paint brush
  • As for “mixed media,” I gave him a container of items easy to glue: pom poms, tissue paper squares, feathers
  • Encouraged him to put glue on the house and decorate away!

Salt Pouring & Cleanup

  • Brought back a favorite, pouring salt!
  • The intent here was to remind him about this process, using the funnel, cleaning up with the tray, etc., to introduce the Sand Art activity (next).

Colored Salt “Sand Art”

  • Instead of using sand, I made colored salt. See how to make colored salt here!
  • Used one of a three-pack of sand art bottles I bought at Michaels (on sale for $2.50)
  • Included a small funnel from OTC

Clip Color Wheel

  • The idea for this Montessori-inspired color wheel is from this Etsy item — thank you!
  • Printed an existing color wheel I found in color on regular paper. It has 12 colors on it
  • Trimmed with a white border around it and laminated, then trimmed that
  • Using a 1″ hole punch, punched holes out of cardstock in all 12 colors on the wheel
  • Used foam stickers to attach circles to IKEA clothespins
  • Clip each pin to the right spot on the wheel — tons of fun!

Famous Art

  • Found some high-quality images of famous artwork and printed in color
  • Trimmed them to size
  • From there, we want to encourage him to look at these, ask questions, etc.! I printed two of each so we may make a sort of memory game out of them, too.

Color Mixing Dough Tray

  • Gave him a container with five different colors of dough
  • Included some simple tools — scissors, rolling pin, and lemon squeezer
  • Encourage him to mix the colors, cut, and push through the squeezer

Coloring in One Color

  • Simply picked out several orange coloring and drawing implements – crayons, pencils, highlighter, etc.
  • For something different, included some white cardstock circles to color

How to Draw Sheets

  • Absolutely awesome how-to-draw printables from The Drawbot — go there now!
  • Printed these two-up on regular paper
  • Trimmed and glued each on its own piece of letter-sized cardstock
  • Wrote name of item to draw (Boat, Mushroom, House, Fish)
  • Then, he had a spot to trace, draw, write, etc.

Square Collages

  • Gave him about a dozen cardstock squares in various sizes
  • Also gave him foam mounting squares
  • This is open-ended, allowing him to create any sort of “collage” he would like


We started off this art theme with a the Art Appreciation episode of Blue’s Clues. I know many shows probably go into this category, but they do a good job of making somewhat grown-up concepts more kid-friendly. There is a part of the episode where a person or character is ‘missing’ from a famous painting and the kids have to help choose between 3 paintings that it belongs to. On the last day of the week, we got out an old Baby Einstein DVD, specifically, Baby Van Gogh. How fun it was to watch an “old” DVD with him and gain some perspective on how much he has grown up!

Anyway, as it often does, this theme fit in with some local activities and events! It was neat to tie it all together.

He totally enjoyed the birdhouse activity! I have been so, for lack of a better word, CHEAP with school lately! So this ‘prop’ was a nice option. I will have to remind myself how much fun can be found from a dollar or two! He really enjoyed ‘painting’ the house with glue!

The sand art (with salt) was a lot of fun too. This was always one of my favorite activities so it is fun to do it with him too! I helped him understand to pour in a little at a time to make layers, and to gently tap it to pack it all down. I didn’t realize how much salt it would take to fill up the bottle, so I added some white, too. We finished one up and I snatched it to put on my desk at work :) But after that, I let him play more openly, dumping, re-pouring, and so on.

Finally, I had bought a roll of easel paper to stick on his easel. But guess what — it didn’t fit! So we rolled it out in the garage and painted; I bet that was more fun than it would have been on the easel.

(Find ideas for older kids on our collection of 13 Art Preschool Trays!)

I’m proud to be linking this post up to 1+1+1=1’s Tot School Gathering Place as well as Montessori Monday, Motivation Monday, Turn it Up Tuesdays, Wonderful Wednesday Linky Party, Parenting Pin It Party, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, Small Victories Sunday, and Social Butterfly Sunday!

Cool Books for Art Tot Trays!

Celebrate art and learning with this set of art tot trays!

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