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As parents, we’re always hoping to encourage creativity (which tends to get messy), while keeping things manageable for ourselves and our sanity. Because, yes, a dried pasta noodle party in the kitchen would result in cute, strung necklaces and a lot of great fine motor practice. But, it would be a huge mess that we don’t have time/want to clean up!

With that said, we want to highlight one of our favorite products - for these exact reasons! Our art trays are so special because they’re the golden ticket in remedying this age-old creativity versus mess debacle. Confine any craft, art project or activity to our wonderfully convenient 11 x 8.5 inch art tray for mess-free creative success stories!

Fast facts on why we love our art trays for kiddos:

  • Trays keep children focused! Having one tray per idea can keep children focused on what they are doing.
  • Trays give children the freedom and space they need to set up the activity in a way that works best for them. Everything’s within reach, and this helps promote problem-solving skills.
  • Trays are a great way to contain messy sensory projects like paint, water, or sand.
  • Trays can be stacked; quickly and efficiently stored away for later use.

Grab your art trays, friends, because we’re sharing our favorite uses for this awesome art tool (messes, not included)!

Sorting Activities

As seen in our Summer Exploration Activities blog, kids can collect and sort different items in their art trays and work on organizing. Think of all the sorting categories they can work through: color, shape, size, feel, etc. For example, kiddos can collect leaves or sticks from outside and sort them in their trays by different categories. You can emphasize color learning, and have kids sort foods by color in their art trays, too!


Writing Practice

Fill one of our art trays with salt or sand, and use a stick or index finger to work on writing letters and numbers! When a child uses their finger for these kinds of activities, there’s less pressure on correctly holding utensils. They can simply enjoy the movement and feel!

Sensory Trays

No need to buy an expensive, bulky sensory table when you can just grab our easy-to-store art trays for the same experience! Fill a tray with sand, soil, rice or dried beans, and have your child enjoy sensory exploration (and ultimately healthy brain development)! You may also try filling the tray with small shells & sand, and have your kids discover those tiny particles with a mesh strainer. Hide some treasures down below!

Our kiddos’ favorite sensory tray activity is, of course, water. Add water to our art trays and have your child give their toy cars, dolls, dinos or action figures a nice cleansing scrub!


Scissor Skills

Have your child hold their beginner scissors over our art trays for some very handy, mess-free practice! Kids can practice cutting with the paper scraps effortlessly fall into the tray for easy cleanup. Print or draw dashed lines on paper, and have your child practice cutting. First straight lines, then zig-zag and curved!

Slime Time

Okay, we’re partial to some slime time over here at Doodle Hog. Although our slime kits come with plastic cups and lids for mess-free slime sessions, we do love letting little ones dump their slime creations into the tray and just have at it! Kiddos can sprinkle on our slime kit toppings, and enjoy all the ooey-gooey goodness of slime play in a mess-free tray!

We’d love to see you and your child’s favorite ways to use our plastic art trays. Maybe you come up with something truly unique!

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