8 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained with a Muffin Tin
DYAN ROBSON, AND NEXT COMES L
Sep 19, 2016
Looking for an easy way to entertain the kids while you cook supper or wash dishes? Then look no further than your own kitchen!
These simple boredom busters for kids use muffin tins and other simple materials that you likely already have on hand. These activities encourage fine motor skills, math skills, imaginative play, and more! But what I love is that they all require next to no prep to set-up.
1. Pompom Sorting & Patterning
For this activity, grab some pompoms and a mini muffin tray. A regular muffin tray will work, but giant pom poms work great in the mini muffin trays. Create a pattern and encourage your child to copy the pattern in the following row. Or let them create the initial pattern themselves!
Other variations of this activity you could try:
• For babies, try ball pit balls and regular muffin tins to work on one-to-one correspondence.
• Use a regular muffin tin and sort the pom poms by color into the different cups.
• Label the bottom of each muffin cup using a dry eraser marker (or label a cupcake liner) with a number and encourage your child to count the corresponding number of pom poms into that cup.
• Add measuring spoons, tablespoons, tongs or tweezers to target fine motor skills.
2. Cupcake Pretend Play
For this activity, you will need:
- Muffin tins
- Cupcake liners
- Birthday candles
- Kinetic sand or play dough
- Loose parts for decorating: buttons, glass stones, ribbon, or similar
Let your kids make and decorate their own cupcakes! My youngest really enjoys just using kinetic sand and candles to make his cupcakes.
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3. Muffin Tin Geoboard
My kids absolutely loved the time that I showed them how to use the muffin tin upside down as a geoboard. Just grab some color rubber bands and start making shapes on this super simple DIY geoboard. This activity is a great way to work on fine motor skills, hand strength and shapes.
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4. Print Making
Feeling crafty? Then grab some washable paint, paper, and your muffin tins. Let the kids dip the muffin tins into a tray of paint and stamp the muffin tin to make prints on the paper.
5. Tape Weaving
This activity focuses on developing fine motor skills. You'll need washi tape (masking tape will work too!), scissors and a large mini muffin tin. Encourage your kids to cut strips of tape to fit the rows and columns of the muffin tin. Then have them weave the tape over and under. My youngest really loved this activity! But he has always enjoyed any activity that uses tape or scissors.
As a variation, you could tape pieces of string or ribbon down (just tape down one end) and try weaving the strings/ribbons.
6. Telephone Practice
For this activity, you'll need a 12 cup muffin tin and a dry erase marker. Label the bottom side of the muffin tin with the numbers 0-9, just like a telephone. Encourage your kids to practice dialing important phone numbers. Or even grab a phone book and let your kids pick random phone numbers to dial.
7. DIY Matching Game
Make your own matching game using a 12- or 24-muffin tin. Place the tin vertically and put pairs of items in the left and right columns. For example, you could put an uppercase letter B in a cup on the left side and a lowercase letter b in a cup on the right side. Use tape to connect the two items on opposite sides of the muffin tin.
8. Object Sorting
Get your kids to sort objects by shapes, sizes, colours, etc. with muffin tins. We used wooden shapes and I placed one of each kind in a different cup. Then my youngest son sorted the remaining wooden shapes into the correct cup. Your kids may enjoy sorting buttons, coins, LEGO bricks, mini erasers, or something else entirely!
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