August 3, 2015

Tinker Trays +20 Item Ideas to Fill Them

Tinker Trays

Today I sat down and began to fill a couple of these trays for what will be my Maker/S.T.E.A.M space in the classroom this fall. I believe that if we're going to encourage our students to explore and create in an open-ended manner, then we need to give them lots of various materials to manipulate and use. I love how tinker trays help towards that goal. Tinker trays allow children to exercise their creativity, decision-making skills, and independence because where an adult may look on and see just a bunch of random objects to be tossed, children see potential and possibilities.

After seeing many examples of tinker trays here are two key things I've learned: First, rather than worrying about the potential messes that could happen from having them out for kids, take the time to train them how to use them (i.e. don't dump the thing all over the floor or poke your friends with any of the objects). Second, there's no right way to set the trays up--just keep adding small materials for your students to use as they wish. Here are just 25 possible items you could find to fill up your tinker trays:
  1. Paper Clips
  2. Rubber Bands
  3. Brads
  4. Eyelets
  5. Keys
  6. Magnets
  7. Bottle Caps
  8. Screws and Washers
  9. Marbles
  10. Small Stones
  11. Buckles
  12. Key Rings
  13. Twist Ties
  14. Small Mosaic Tiles
  15. Beads
  16. Buttons
  17. Small Plastic Objects
  18. Pom Poms
  19. Corks
  20. Sequins/Gems

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