Many people would say there is no need for practical life trays in the home. However, I find there are plenty of examples where the work is best presented on a tray. A tray keeps all the materials together and defines the work area. For a young preschooler, it also helps to satisfy their need for order, everything they need for the activity is on the tray. Here are four trays that we used today.
The key for me is to keep the practical life trays as real as possible. There is a lot of transferring work here and it's all for a purpose, for an outcome and all of the materials are real, the child here is mainly transferring seeds, which is fantastic for their fine motor skills.
Removing seeds from a Sunflower. My children rarely use tweezers for this, they just use their fingers. Otis (9yrs) loves this activity too, he finds it satisfying. All of the transferring and pulling out the seeds strengthens the finger muscles and promotes the use of the pincer grasp.
This is simple chopping compost with a small knife. We like to chop our compost down into small pieces for our worm farm. This is fantastic work for a child who loves to use a knife, this really helps to work and strengthen the hands. I've included a label here as it's not immediately obvious to the child what the work is, even though my child cannot read all of the words, he will learn to and he can see this food is for the worm farm.
Then the child can add the compost to the worm farm. We could do the same with paper and cardboard packaging as we also rip that into smaller pieces before adding it to the farm.
Packaging Sunflower seeds. These are some seeds that we harvested earlier. The child fills the little jars with seeds, puts the lids on tightly and adds some labels. We will share these with friends and add a few to our Street Library to share with our neighbours. This is another example of purposeful transferring.
I was thinking these would make excellent gifts, we could also buy pollinator seeds and mix them up and package them nicely to give to friends at Christmas.