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What are Playtrays?


When you begin to make deliberate decisions as to what you present your child to play with, a whole new world of opportunity opens up for both of you.

Playtrays make an ideal play space.  They are enticing and open-ended.  They foster and encourage creativity.  They use easily obtained materials that children love to touch and manipulate.

Playtrays focuses on:
1.  Defining the BOUNDRIES of a play experience.
2.  Using MATERIALS versus TOYS 
3.  RE-PURPOSING materials
4.  PRE-SELECTING materials to be used
4.  presenting UNIQUE COMBINATIONS of materials.

And considers:
1.  Are the materials OPEN-ENDED? Can they be used in a variety of ways? 
2.  Are they ENTICING?  Do they lure the child in?
3.  Are they SENSORY-RICH?  Do they feel or look appealing?
4.  Does it have enough MOVABLE PARTS?  Does the child feel like he has enough to manipulate and control?
5. Does it connect the child to the real world? or does it imply that the child's interest is recognized and appreciated?

Defining the boundaries:
PLAY can become more purposeful and materials used more deliberately when the boundaries are defined.  It makes clear what the choices are and it contains the mess!

Choosing materials versus toys: Play experiences become limitless when you consider other options besides toys.  You will be surprised how much you can find around your house, outside, at yard sales, at craft stores and other unlikely stores.  You are no longer just limited to toy stores.

Using materials other than their original use: When you shift your perspective as to what to offer your child to play with it becomes fun to re-evaluate objects uses and see how they can be used for a different purpose.  For example, condiment cups are no longer for catsup and mustard but for instant snow and dried lavender.

Pre-selecting materials to be used:
When you make deliberate decisions as to what your child has to choose to work with, you know the play will most likely be rich and satisfying.  The presented materials will dictate how the children will interact with them.  Something really soft and fluffy will be handled differently than something glass or porcelain.

Combining unlikely materials:
Presenting unique combinations of materials is not only fun for your child but it is fun for you!  Once you get the hang of it, you will find yourself finding things to collect when you are out and about, not necessarily knowing how you are going to use them and then one day...it is the item that pulls your whole tray together! Be careful, because this way of play can almost be addictive!

Why open-ended?
Often, the appeal of a toy is short lived. Why is that?  Because many commercialized toys are designed to "do something".  Their function is limited. And the child does not have to use his imagination or creative abilities to be entertained.  Initially, it is fun to see what it does, but after that is discovered, there is not much left to do and it can't be used for much else then its original purpose.  When working with materials that are open-ended, and without batteries or plugs, the child has to do the "doing".  They bring it to life with their own agenda in mind.  When she has thoroughly explored the material in one way she can then explore in an alternative way.  Open-ended play is commonly seen when children are given dress up clothes and props, a variety blocks cars and people, or outside amongst sticks, stones, and dirt.  Playtrays.com offers yet another outlet for creative, hands-on play.

Why sensory-rich?
Young children learn through their senses.  They explore, process, and make sense of their world through sensory play.  Through purposeful explorations of open-ended sensory materials, they create neurological pathways that create the foundation of learning.  The child who is given the time and space for play with open-ended sensory materials is not only have the time of his life, but is developing perception, creativity, imagination, and brain cells!

Why moveable parts?
Children love to fill, dump, mix, and pour and they love re-enacting their own personal experiences through objects in hand.  Because playtrays consist of movable parts, your child does the feeling, the smelling, the sorting, the filling, the deciding, and the arranging of his own special world. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After spending 3 hours with my amazing Grand Daughter on Christmas day, playing with her new play tray, while surrounded by other "stuff", I am sold . What a fantastic idea and gift. Pardon the run on sentence but your idea and product is absolutely amazing.

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