When I put together a tinker tray collection, while I consider it loose parts for the children to play with as they will, I am also looking at the sensory and potential skill building aspects. While I like to put them out as an open provocation, in the back of my mind is what they could potentially do with the items. This tinker tray has an amazing range of sizes and textures. Some skill sets I see in this collection:

  • Math provocation
  • Fine motor
  • Hand/eye coordination
  • Tower building
  • Balancing
  • Filling
  • Rolling
  • Threading
  • Dramatic/imaginative play
  • Sensory stimulation and evaluation
  • Size, weight and other physical properties evaluation & comparison
  • Sorting possibilities of many characteristics


And of course, I never come up with near the ideas that my students do!


Choking Hazard! Small parts, so not for children under 3 or those still putting things in their mouths unless under direct, focused adult supervision.


Strangulation Hazard!  Any string, ribbon, or fabric longer than 6 inches can pose a strangulation hazard to very young children. Adult supervision is required.



Reggio Tinker Tray

  • Wood tray 8 1/2 X 11 3/4 inches, 1 set of 4 inch wood numbers 0-9, stones, 5 large peg people, 6 set of family peg people, 4 sensory balls, 2 rings, 4 disks, 3 spools, small beads, plastic safety needle and string

  • Fine motor, logic/reasoning, sensory exploration, sorting, engineering, physics, open-ended play, numeracy, artistic expression, compare/contrast, visual discrimination, hand/eye coordination