Muffin Tin Games
Here’s Cathy from nurturestore.co.uk with some more fun ideas for helping your little ones learn through play.
Do your children like to play with things from the kitchen while you’re cooking or washing up? One great item that can be used in lots of playful ways is a muffin tin. Here are five ideas you could use to add some learning to your play time.
1. Very young children can enjoy matching if you provide a muffin tin with some small items that will fit into each space. I often use silicone cake cases because they’re handy to grab from the shelf right next to the muffin tin and, unlike paper cake cases, it doesn’t matter if they end up in your baby’s mouth. Placing one cake case in each muffin hole is a very early maths lesson in one-to-one correspondence: the idea that each number matches to one thing. You don’t need to teach this though – just let your baby play and explore the idea for them self.
2. Turn the game into sorting practise by using two muffin tins and two groups of items – maybe the set of case cakes and a set of wooden blocks. Offer them to your little one and see if they can sort the mixed pile, putting all the cake cases in one tin and all the blocks in another. Later on these classification skills will help your child sort language and math ideas.
3. Try some counting. How many holes are there in the muffin tin? Can you go on a treasure hunt and find the same number of Lego bricks to match? What about the same number of clothes pegs? Or socks?
4. What about recognising numbers? Make some little cards that fit inside the muffin tin holes and write a number on each one – in numerical order, or all mixed up. Does your child know what each number is? Can they add the right number of items to each hole to match up? We like to use raisins or chocolate chips when we play this. Find a number 4 and add in 4 raisins. Then eat them when you’re done!
5. Or use the muffin tin for a colour treasure hunt. Pop a different coloured piece of paper or a sticker in each hole of the muffin tin and then go hunting to see what items you can find to match up with each one. You could make it a little harder by putting stripes or spots in some of the holes. This is a fun game you can play inside on a rainy day or out in the garden.