The Montessori method of teaching is very intentional in how it encourages learning. Each toy and activity is designed with a specific purpose. Montessori craft trays are no different. This fun activity promotes learning and development, and there are so many different ways to get creative with it! Keep reading to learn about Montessori craft trays and how to make one at home.

What are Montessori Craft Trays?

Montessori craft trays, sometimes referred to as art trays, are tools used in Montessori education to encourage hands-on learning. They also promote fine motor skills development in young children. A Montessori craft tray typically consists of a shallow tray or container that holds a variety of materials and tools for a child to use in a creative and artistic way. These trays usually contain various craft materials and activities that allow children to engage in creative and purposeful work.

The design of Montessori craft trays is visually appealing and inviting, with neatly arranged materials that are accessible to the child. Montessori classrooms or homes with a Montessori-inspired environment often use them to encourage children to engage in open-ended creative activities. Additionally, they can help develop their creativity, fine motor skills, and independence.

The Purpose of Montessori Craft Trays

Montessori craft trays provide children with opportunities for exploration, concentration, and independence. The materials in a Montessori craft tray are carefully chosen to promote specific skills and development in children. For example, a craft tray may include items such as beads, buttons, yarn, paper, scissors, glue, and other craft supplies. The teacher or parent would encourage the child to use the materials on the tray to create their own art, experiment with textures and colors, and engage in fine motor skills development, such as threading beads or cutting paper. The focus is on the process of creating, rather than the end result, and children are encouraged to explore and experiment at their own pace.

Different Kinds of Montessori Craft Trays

One of the most fun things about Montessori craft trays is that there are so many different kinds, so they never get old! We’re sharing some of our favorite craft tray ideas below, but these are just ideas to get you started at home. Feel free to get creative and use what you already have at home to create engaging craft trays for your little one. We know you’ll have a blast watching their little minds work!

Sewing Tray

This tray may contain a child-sized sewing needle, thread, and fabric scraps, allowing children to practice basic sewing skills such as threading a needle, tying knots, and sewing simple stitches.

Bead Tray

This tray may contain beads of various shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, along with a string, piece of yarn, or wire for stringing beads. Children can use their fine motor skills to thread beads and create their own bead patterns and designs.

Painting Tray

This tray may contain watercolor paints, brushes, and paper, allowing children to explore color mixing, brush strokes, and artistic expression through painting. Alternatively, you could opt to put together a finger painting tray. Rather than using paintbrushes, your child can explore with their own personal brushes—their fingers!

Collage Tray

This tray gives children the opportunity to create their own collages and practice their cutting, tearing, and gluing skills. The tray can contain a variety of collage materials such as paper scraps, fabric scraps, stickers, and glue.

Playdough Tray

This tray may contain homemade or store-bought playdough, along with various tools such as cookie cutters, rolling pins, and molds. Children can shape, mold, and manipulate the playdough, which will help them develop their fine motor skills and creativity.

Nature Tray

This tray is filled with natural materials such as shells, stones, leaves, and pinecones. This allows children to explore and create with nature items, encouraging sensory exploration and creativity. You might even invite your child to explore your backyard to find things to fill this tray with.

Lacing Tray

This tray gives children the chance to practice lacing and threading skills to improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor control. A lacing tray typically contains lacing cards or boards with pre-punched holes, along with laces or strings.

These are just a few examples of the many types of Montessori craft trays that can be used in a Montessori environment. Other ideas include stamp trays, drawing trays, and pouring trays. The key is to provide children with open-ended and purposeful activities that encourage their creativity, independence, and fine motor skills development. Which craft tray is your child’s favorite?

Montessori Daycare in San Jose, California

Looking for Montessori-style school in San Jose or the surrounding area? Piedmont Hills Montessori Academy offers a quality Montessori education and environment where toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners can flourish. Contact us today to book a tour and learn more.