Toddler Activity Tray Ideas

Simple Toddler Activities for counting, fine motor skills, matching, sorting, and colors.
Here are a few simple Toddler Activity Tray Ideas that I’ve tried with N (24 months) recently that I wanted to share. Sometimes the simplest activities (the ones you spend the least time preparing) are the most popular with your toddler.
Remember that repetition is important at this age so you can rotate the activities or put a new one out each week, whatever works best for you.
toddler tray activity ideas
Transferring Large Pom Poms with Large Tongs
Put the pom poms in the middle of the tray and use the tongs to transfer them into the outer sections. You could use this to make patterns, match colors, or for “making” food in the play kitchen.
toddler tray activity ideas
Color Matching with Blocks
These foam blocks are large enough for toddlers to stack or match. Ask or tell your toddler the name of the color as they pick one up and match it.


toddler tray activity ideas
Counting Cards with Extra Large Garden Stones
This is N’s favorite. I only gave her cards 1-3 to start with. She puts the cards in order and then puts one large stone in each circle on the card. Sometimes we count them together, sometimes I’ll point to and say the number of the card she completed but usually I let her lead the way with this one and chime in when I can.


toddler tray activity ideas
Sorting by Color (with extra large garden stones)
We use the box that the Melissa and Doug Magnetic Letters came in but you could use any two containers or plates for sorting. I usually put one on each side to get her started.


toddler tray activity ideas
Sorting by Size/Shape (with garden stones)
I put one on each side to get N started. Sometimes as she is sorting them I’ll chime in and say “Big and Small” or “Circle and Oval”.


toddler tray activity ideas
Clipping Clothes Pins
Clip to the edge of a cup or a container. These plastic clothes pins are a change of pace from the smaller, wooden clothes pins. These seem easier for her to grasp and don’t pinch as hard just in case little fingers get caught in the end. This was the most difficult activity for N. I might put it away and get it out again in another month.
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  • Reply JDaniel4's Mom

    Your clothes pins are super cool!

    January 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm
  • Reply Jackie H.

    My son will be 2 next week so thanks for sharing this!! I love these activities tho’ some may be challenging for him. We’ll try it out, though, you never know what they are going to catch on to or love. By the way, we’ve used the wooden clothespins that are sometimes used to make peg people. They just slide on instead of clipping. It’s a different skill, but he loves to slide those onto the side of a container. He will do them all the way around a metal tin that I gave him. Just a thought.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm
  • Reply The Activity Mom

    Jackie, great idea about the clothes pins. I think we will try those next!

    January 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm
  • Reply e-Expeditions

    Great ideas! 🙂

    January 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm
  • Reply Toddler Approved

    Fabulous ideas!! I have tons of those pebbles/stones and need to use them more. Sharing this on twitter right now! 🙂

    January 8, 2012 at 7:43 am
  • Reply anuva

    My 19 month old and I have done the garden stone activity about 3 times now. The first couple of times, she just wanted to play with the pretty stones and couldn’t care less about the numbers. The third time, I actually got her to set down stones for 1 and 2. We will keep revisiting…thank you sooooo much! Oh and we are also doing the foam shape matching too and getting better at it!

    February 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply The Activity Mom

    Anuva~ How exciting! Thanks for the update. It is so fun to see them grow and learn isn’t it? =)

    February 11, 2012 at 1:29 am
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