Learn and Play with a Muffin Tin

Learning at home with items you already have is easy when you think outside of the box.  In the case of today’s blog post, we’re thinking outside of the muffin tin!  Muffin tins are something that most of us have in a cupboard or closet and we use maybe once or twice a month.  Unless you make cupcakes or muffins every day, the tins probably aren’t being used very much.  While we do a lot of baking, we actually could use our muffin tins for so many more learning and play activities.  The compartments of a muffin tin are perfect for kids to put things into and sort.  It’s a great tool for math, colors, literacy, and sensory play.  Below, we’re sharing learning, play, math, science, colors, and so many more ways to learn and play with muffin tins!


Creative ways to learn and play with muffin tine, including math, sight words, science, art, sorting, colors, baby play, and more.

Ways to play and learn using muffin tins:



Explore chemical reactions in the tin compartments like Little Bins for Little Hands. (Muffin tins make great compartments for baking soda reactions!)
Discover colors of the rainbow in this build a rainbow activity from KCEdventures.
Then sort colors like Modern Preschool, using pom poms and colored paper. Learn with Play at Home used pom poms for color sorting and early math.
Count with playdough using a muffin tin like Messy Little Monster.
Encourage Baby Hand-Eye Coordination and so much more like we did with balls and babies!
You can use the compartments of a muffin tin in sensory play with rice (like Adventures of Adam) or beans, shaving cream, dried lentils…the possibilities are endless!
Toddlers love to place items into the compartments of a muffin tin.  Adventures of Adam used cotton balls for fine motor and hand-eye coordination play.
Create a book -based Math Game like Kitchen Floor Crafts did.
Make a sight word fine motor game like Growing Book By Book did for us last year.
Here are more muffin tin reading games from Growing Book By Book.
Experiment with ice like The Chaos and the Clutter did with their melting ice experiment.
Match colors like Powerful Mothering.
Create a counting game like JDaniel4’s Mom.
Freeze letters in ice using muffin tins like Sugar Aunts (that’s us!) did.


This post is part of our month-long Learning with Free Materials series, part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools.

Checkers Math Pre Coding without an App

Today we’re sharing how we use an every day game and household item like checkers in math for preschoolers and a pre-coding activity.  Coding for kids is a new and very important skill. You can swing by our coding for kids Pinterest board for more ideas.  Checkers are a basic manipulative that can be counted, patterned, sorted, and used in step-by-step tasks for pre-requisites to coding without a computer or app. 


This post is part of our month-long Learning with Free Materials series, part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools.
Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app


Math for Kids using checkers

This post contains affiliate links.  

We play a game of checkers
a few times a week. It’s always a hit when we need a little down time or quiet game. We’ve been using my husband’s old checkerboard from his younger days, so it’s a game that we’ve always had around the house.  Recently, we’ve been using the game pieces in math activities with my preschoolers and school-aged kids.



The bright and bold colors of the checkers pieces makes them a great patterning tool.  Preschool-aged kids can practice AB, ABA, ABB, BAA, and more complicated patterns.  Patterning is a skill needed in coding, so this is a great beginning skill to develop.


Ask your preschoolers to sort the colors into stacks and piles of red and black chips.  Manipulating the chips really can be challenging to a child’s fine motor skills.  Be sure to read up on our manipulating coins fine motor post for information on in-hand manipulation, translation, stacking with coins and chips.


Work on counting with the chips.  Count them out into columns of tens.  Practice counting by base ten and and adding ones to get double digits.  Remove single chips to practice subtraction from double digits. 



Pre-Coding Activity for Kids with Checkers

A big part of coding (at least what I understand from my husband) is the task of getting from one point to another in a problem while thinking out the process before it happens.  We love to play a game of “Shifting Pyramids” with our checkers board.  

To play Shifting Pyramids:
Use the pieces to form a pyramid with ten red chips on one side of the checkerboard and a pyramid with ten black chips on the opposite side of the checkerboard.  Only black squares are used for the game.  Players move their men forward, either by single spaces or by jumping their own or their opponents’ men in a single jump or a series of jumps.  Men that are jumped are not removed from the board.  The winner is the player who re-forms his pyramid on the opposite side of the checker board.  
Playing Shifting Pyramids requires a player to think ahead as they attempt to flip their pyramid to the other side of the checkerboard.  We typically play with only one pyramid to begin with (all red or all black pieces) to work out the steps of flipping the pyramid.  Often times, a pattern of chip movements develops. Further the activity by using the red and black chips as symbols and create a message with the “code”.

To work on more pre-coding skills, stop by and visit our coding for kids Pinterest board.  You’ll find activities related to patterns, strep-by-step thought processes, abstract thinking, using symbols, and more.

Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app

Using checkers in math and pre- coding activities for preschoolers and kids. Coding ideas without using a a computer or app
Looking for more coding games and activities?  Try some of these pre-coding games for kids:

Robot Turtles Game
Color Code
LightUp Edison Kit 
Dash & Dot Robot

Learn with Play Year Round Learning Book

We are published in a book!  I am so excited to introduce our book that we’ve had the honor to collaborate and help author.  Introducing, Learn with Play: 150- Activities for Year Round Fun and Learning!
Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for year-round fun and learning for kids.  An amazing resource for parents, teachers, grandparents, child care workers.  This would be a great gift idea for birthdays!

 

This book is sure to keep kids busy and free from boredom with 150+ activities for year-round learning through play.  With 94 co-authors, Learn with Play offers activities, crafts, learning for all stages of childhood from babies to kindergarten aged.  This is such an amazing resource for parents, educators, therapists, child care workers, and grandparents.  A book like this would make an amazing (and easy) gift idea for birthday presents to children of all ages.  
 
This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links. 
Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for year-round fun and learning for kids.  An amazing resource for parents, teachers, grandparents, child care workers.  This would be a great gift idea for birthdays!


Learn With Play Book

The pages of Learn with Play is such a resource with it’s age-appropriate play and color coded activities.  Bloggers from all over the world have teamed up to bring you the best ideas for learning through play.  Each activity comes with age suggestions, abilities targeted, clear instructions, materials needed, author’s name, and blog url. 
Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for year-round fun and learning for kids.  An amazing resource for parents, teachers, grandparents, child care workers.  This would be a great gift idea for birthdays!


Included in this amazing resource:
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Sensory
  • DIY Toys
  • Play Recipes
  • Busy Bags
  • Math
  • Literacy
  • and much more!
 

Ebook version 

Kindle version ($14.95) Click here to purchase

Paperback version ($29.99) Click here to purchase

Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for year-round fun and learning for kids.  An amazing resource for parents, teachers, grandparents, child care workers.  This would be a great gift idea for birthdays!

Learning with Recycled Plastic Containers

Sometimes finding materials at home for learning and play is as easy as grabbing a plastic container from the recycle bin!  We put together this list of creative learning ideas using recycled plastic containers.  Who knew you could use an old plastic bottle or food container in so many ways!  This post is part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips series where we are joining 25 bloggers in creative learning and ideas for homeschooling and learning at home.  We’re sharing 31 Days of learning with free (or almost free) materials so today’s plastic container learning ideas fits the bill!
Ideas for using recycled plastic containers in learning activities for kids: science, math, sensory, crafts.

Learning with Recycled Plastic Containers Ideas for Kids:



Picklebums explored colors and created print art with plastic containers.
Learn with Play at Home mixed colors in a container.
grated cheese container is great for fine motor work, sorting, math, and color identification.
For more fine motor work, use a recycled container for sorting like Mama OT.
Practice math concepts with recycled snack containers. (This Reading Mama featured on Kids Activities Blog)
Use yogurt containers for Counting Games like Teaching Mama.
For more math concepts, try this measuring activity from Learn with Play at Home.
Can Do Mama shares baby container play ideas.
Use spice containers to explore counting, observing, stacking, problem solving and more like Toddler Approved.
Or use spice containers for baby sensory play like we did.
Plastic containers are great means for conducting science experiements like this water fountain from Learn with Play at Home.
This water filter science experiment from Planet Smarty Pants uses a recycled tennis ball container.
Try this wave in a bottle from Imagination Tree.


How do you play with recycled plastic containers?  There is a lot of learning that can happen with trash!  Visit our Trash Turned Kids Crafts Pinterest board for recycled material fun and learning.