Carissa over at 1+1+1=1 hosts Tools for Tots where you can find ideas for homemade learning tools. I am all for homemade! There are many wonderful ideas out there, so it is not often that I come up with one of my own. . . not even this time! This one is from my mother-in-law. I asked for her help in saving containers for tot tray activities and explained what I was trying to do. And she came up with a neat idea she calls Mix & Match.
Each container is mixed with 2 of everything in it and the tot task is to match them up. It reminds me of an "I Spy" type of challenge. For young tots, they can simply make matches. For older tots or preschoolers, you can set a timer for one minute to see how many matches they can make. Then, mix them up and try again and see if you can get more the next time. All of my children loved this! So, I made a second game that is more challenging (the one on bottom). It would even be fun to make one with all blue things, bead things, metal things, etc. It would also work great as a hide-and-seek game with pasta, grain, etc. for more of a challenge.
My tot is 26 months old and she has caught on and loves it! My preschooler, who is 4, loves to play with the timer. He can get about 5, 6, or 7 matches successively. . . it was fun, but a challenge, so yay!