Learning Trays

Lilly Belle & Lucy’s Learning Trays | Under the Sea

Today was the best! I put together a tray for each of the girls with an Under the Sea theme since we have been learning about the ocean and doing ocean themed crafts and activities. This was the first time I have put together a tray for Lucy and she loved every single activity I put in front of her!

When I am putting their trays together, I add things that I know will be engaging, a mix of comfortable and challenging, and also a mix of different subject areas. Lilly Belle is 4.5 now, so there are definitely certain things she is now working on in math, reading and writing that I wanted to make sure to include. Lucy is almost 15 months old and has never really done any of these activities yet, so I wanted to make sure that all of her activities were similar to Lilly Belle’s and things that would spark her little imagination and give her a challenge. She is so eager to learn right now and wants to be doing everything that Lilly Belle is doing.

Here is what I put together for their Under the Sea Learning Trays!

Lilly Belle’s Learning Tray (4.5 years old)


  1. Fish Foil Painting | This activity is one from our Let’s Play School Preschool Curriculum in our Rainbow Fish unit. She loves painting and art. We’ve never painted on foil before and I thought she would love it. And, she did!IMG_9875
  2. Feed the Shark CVC Words & Color Sort | This activity is a mix of something I created and a few different activities mixed together that I found on Pinterest. I used a Cheerios box and white cardstock to make the shark. It took me about 5 minutes to make. I just used a sharpie marker to draw the shark head shape and cut it out. Then I made a mouth and cut that out. I drew on two eyes with a sharpie. I cut out little triangles of white cardstock and used Elmer’s Glue to glue them on. They dried overnight and in the morning it was all set to play with! I got a bunch of paint samples from Walmart and wrote CVC words by word family on each of the colors. Then I just cut out all the strips. I was surprised at how much Lilly Belle loved this! When I made this I was CERTAIN we were going to do like 2 words and then end up feeding the shark some Goldfish crackers with Lucy. BUT, she did about 30 words! … in a row! I was seriously impressed! I didn’t know she could read that well or that she could last long reading. I told her the shark loved eating words and I let her make weird chomping noises as she fed him and that’s all it took! 😉 I was also surprised at how confused she got by a few of the colors and which groups they belonged in. Violet Purple and Lime Green had her all kinds of confused. So I was pumped that she learned something new there as well as I figured she was going to breeze through that part. Overall – I give this activity a 2 thumbs up and am so excited to do it again tomorrow!IMG_9872
  3. Book Quote Tracing | I printed this printable out for her from our Let’s Play School Rainbow Fish unit. She LOVES doing these and it was perfect for her to do independently while I was nursing Lucy and putting her down for a nap. I usually have her used these as laminated pages with a dry erase marker and she told me she loved doing it with a blue marker. I’m happy I’ll have it to keep now too in her little folder for the month. She loves writing.
  4. Treasure Counting & Number Word Writing | She didn’t last too long with this one. I think it was way too easy for her and she got bored. She can for sure count to 10 and she kept acting all goofy while doing it. She loved writing out the number words, but she still isn’t paying attention to them while she is writing. She is more focused on getting each letter right as she is writing. I’m going to need a Plan B on these number words with her, she’s not picking up on them yet.
  5. Goldfish Patterns | So my intention with the Goldfish crackers was that she was going to do patterns with them. But…they ended up just being a snack while we did our work today. I’m okay with that!

Lucy’s Learning Tray (almost 15 months old)


  1. Fish Foil Painting with Taste Safe Paint | I was so excited that Lucy got to paint with a paintbrush today and so-was-she! I went on Pinterest and found the best idea ever for taste safe paint and it worked perfectly. I was so pumped about it. We are for sure going to do this all the time with her until she stops putting everything in her mouth. To make the paint I just used a little ice cube tray from the Dollar Store and filled 5 cups with some Evaporated Milk. Then I added food coloring to make red, yellow, orange, green and blue. I gave her a fish made out of cardboard and foil just like Lilly Belle’s and let her go to town! Mistake was that I had her in a white dress …hello, dumb! But – amazing was that she immediately went to town with her new favorite word too, “dip, dip, dip.” It was the cutest thing ever! She had more fun dipping the paintbrush into each color than actually painting, but it was still totally fun! She tasted it immediately so I was so glad I gave her the taste safe paint. She didn’t love it so I didn’t see her put it in her mouth again after that. IMG_9874.jpg
  2. Ocean Animal Toys & Water Table Play | My In-Laws got her a water table for her birthday and we play with it all the time! I had the girls help me wash the table out. We always wash it before playing because we keep in on our patio. They think it’s fun to get to use wipes and help me to drain the water from the previous time of playing. Then I filled it back up and Lilly Belle helped me by adding some green and blue food coloring. The girls played in there for a good 30 minutes together. Mostly dumping water on each other (it was 80 degrees out today) but I loved that they were having fun together! Later in the day we came back to out to play again and I added dish soap and ice cubes to add more to it. Lucy ended up just drinking the water (ew) and trying to eat the ice cubes, but it was fun for sensory…and apparently tasted good (ew.)  IMG_9900
  3. Bubbles | Lucy and I started going to Baby Story Time while Lilly Belle is at school and they always have bubbles. She is now bubble obsessed. And Lilly Belle loves to be the one to get to blow the bubbles for her, so it’s a win win! I thought it fit in nicely with our ocean unit today.
  4. Feed the Shark Colors | The girls shared the shark today, which Lilly Belle was not thrilled about, but Lucy was super pumped! She loves to put things in away containers or cups, so I knew this would be a hit. I cut out more colored paint samples from here without words on them and as she put them into the sharks mouth we were telling her what color it was. She kept clapping for herself each time and ah, its was the cutest thing ever. I love her!! This age is the best.

LINKS FOR TOYS AND ITEMS USED FOR EACH TRAY: (these do contain some Amazon Affiliate links)

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