Frozen has finally taken over my house. Not only can my tot sing all the words to “Let it Go,” but she even knows most of the choreography. It’s adorable and a little mind numbing at the same time. This week, I embraced her love for Elsa, Anna, and Olaf by offering a Frozen-inspired Play Tray, and it was a huge hit!
I put together play trays for my tot every few days (or weeks) to encourage play and learning. I incorporate a lot of play dough, loose parts, craft supplies, and toys. Sometimes there’s a theme like building bear dens or Christmas cookie decorating, and other times I just pick a few random items. Sometimes I leave what to do with the items up to my toddler, but most times I show her some activities she can do with her tray to get her started and see where she take it.
Our Frozen-inspired tray consisted of the following:
- Small Elsa doll
- Blue Play Dough with plastic scissors and knife
- Coffee Filters
- Glass beads (you can get at the dollar store)
- Handwritten letters and words on strips of paper
- Puzzle pieces to create the words “Elsa,” “Snow,” and “Olaf”
Overall, it was a pretty simple tray, but my toddler has played with this tray in a variety of ways for four days straight this week. I’ve never had a play tray that has inspired her and held her attention like this one, which is why I felt the need to share it! Here are some of the activities we came up with using our Frozen-inspired Play Tray:
On Monday morning, I showed her the tray. She was more interested in whining for breakfast, but I was able to side-track her by challenging her to match the puzzle piece letters to the words to spell “Olaf.” She loves Olaf and was very proud of herself for matching the letters, and I got to make us some oatmeal, so win win! The letter matching activity is less about spelling or reading and more about letter recognition.
I wrote a few letters like “S” for snow on pieces of paper and showed my toddler how to create a “Frozen” S with her glass beads. This was a fun, quick activity for her. We are slowly incorporating some letter recognition into our days, so this was an easy way incorporate letters as well as tone her pre-writing skills.
Play Dough, Play Dough, Play Dough
Play dough is one of our favorite craftivity! I include play dough in most of our play trays because she likes it, it’s not very messy, and working with it strengthens her fine motor muscles. I also provided some plastic scissors as we are introducing scissors with her, and she’s very excited to cut her play dough snakes.
Of course, we built a snowman and even something that not-so-closely resembled the snow monster, Marshmellow. My tot loved squashing Marshmellow and saying, “He melted!”
Here are some other Frozen-inspired ways we used play dough:
My toddler is very much into pretend play right now, and incorporated all aspects of her tray in her Frozen world. Puzzle pieces became characters, glass beads made up the scenery/pathways/mountains, the tray itself became Elsa’s ice palace, coffee filters became snow, and the list goes on…
Although, my tot mostly took the lead and did pretend play on her own, I did follow her lead for a few minutes and played with her. She replays Elsa running away and Anna searching for her sister, so I took the opportunity to act out some calm down techniques for Elsa as well as some listening skills for Anna. I love that pretend play lets my toddler act out different scenarios and develop social skills.
Using the coffee filters, I showed my toddler how to make snowflakes. She’s not able to cut out the pieces on her own, so I worked with her to make them together.
We decorated the snowflakes with her glass beads, but my toddler really liked dropping the snowflakes and watching them slowly float to the floor. She pretended she was Elsa making the snow fall. We talked about how each snowflake is unique, but she started losing interest and diving back into pretend play, so I gave her space to take the activity where she would.
Another fun activity I have in mind for pin the snowflakes on a string along the wall or create a personal flurry for Olaf by cutting out a cloud and using string to affix the snowflakes so that they hang down. We’ll see where the rest of the week takes us!