Clubhouse Tray: Water Bead Style

We have a blue tray in the Clubhouse Classroom, and the activities on the tray are ever changing.

Whatever is on the tray is a one kid operation, and the Clubhouse Kids are really good about that. They like knowing that once the tray is in their hands, it's all theirs, so they take turns accordingly. Yes, even in Preschool.. it can be done!

The tray activities are not only one-kid operations, they are also usually very meticulous activities. Sorting small items. Lacing beads. Tongs. Patterns. Gardens made of "crayon dust" with small scoops and sticks. The tray is about details, and often requires precise movements. All in the name of working on those fine motor skills. The Clubhouse Kids can incorporate anything else from the classroom when they are working on the tray. Actually, I love when they do that and I often place the tray in a part of the classroom that is close to other objects I think they may like to incorporate with that particular tray.

So what do water beads have to do with fine motor skills?
Aren't they for big, squishy, bouncy sensory play?

Well just take a look at that pincer grip.

This tray was simple. A tin full of rainbow colored water beads, some scoops and small cups. The tray was then placed near our Clubhouse Kitchen area where I knew they could pull things to sort the beads into.

Scooping and carefully pouring between the cups.

Using tiny fingers to sort beads into muffin/egg cartons, and ice cube trays. 
Which this Clubhouse Kid pulled from the kitchen area. 
Hmmm, how did I know that would happen?
(Sometimes tray placement is key...)

More scooping, pouring and sorting.

Then came the part where every water bead was scooped onto the actual tray for some real hands on exploration.

She kept gripping the little beads, organizing them around the tray.

"I put the yellow ones here."
"I want the blue one here."

On and on, she played for quite some time. Scooping, sorting, color coding. 
Who knew one could be so precise with those slippery little beads?

The Clubhouse Kids have enjoyed a lot of larger sensory play with water beads already. Knowing that, I knew this would be a good time to scale it down and bring the beads to the tray. The interesting part is that the kids who kind of stay back when the beads are in the sensory table flying everywhere, are the kids who really enjoyed the beads on a tray. 

Not my Son though. Fine, meticulous movements while seated? No way. He was enjoying food races down our race track. Food races you ask? Oh well that's another post entirely ;)

Ms. Liz

For more water bead activities, visit our Adventures in Water Beads page here!!

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Montessori Monday

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