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Autumn Themed Tinker Tray

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Loose parts inspiration for seasonal play

This is a quick post as the whole idea behind tinker trays and loose parts play is to let the child explore and discover for themselves. Read on to see what we’ve included…

What’s in the box?

The box featured here is an IKEA GLIS box. It’s certainly not as pretty as the gorgeous wooden trays I see on the ‘gram but they are useful for storage!

  • pom-poms in seasonal colours
  • acorns
  • woodland animals
  • pinecones
  • wooden discs
  • conkers
  • orange slices
  • sticks

Activity Suggestions

Okay so I did say that it’s all up to the child, but these are some ideas that you could try:

  • Playdough prints – e.g. guess the footprint
  • Pre-writing shapes
  • Small world
  • Counting
  • Sculptures

Age Recommendations

Due to the small parts used here, I wouldn’t recommend the activities for children under the age of three. Please also be aware that conkers are actually toxic so would be unsuitable for children who tend to put objects in their mouths.

Key Benefits

Loose parts play can have all sorts of benefits for little learners. Depending on the way play goes, it can have the following benefits:

  • Creative thinking – how to create with the items produced
  • Problem solving
  • Connecting to the world around us – e.g. going on a nature hunt then using the treasures for play.
  • Early math – e.g. counting or making shapes
  • Language development – introducing new words
  • Development of fine motor skills

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Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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