While we’ve been stuck at home for quite some time, I’ve been trying to limit my spending on unnecessary items and that includes new toys for the kids. It seems like they’re always bored with everything that they have and I’m guilty of hitting Buy Now on every new Amazon toy I can find just to hold their attention span for a few extra minutes.
However, when I realized that household items often keep them busier than actual toys, I wanted to find ways to incorporate those. I figured that I could get creative with items we have around the house to make a fun activity for my 1 and 3 year old.
That’s when I found: MUFFIN TINS. This simple household staple is such a clever little gadget that every home has and you can use it in literally hundreds of ways! I listed 12 activities below that you can do with muffin tins for toddlers and preschoolers, but you can alter each activity in so many ways that you can reuse it over and over and your child won’t get bored!
The activities below all incorporate a muffin tin and 1 or 2 other household items. You don’t even have to use the exact materials listed below but you can substitute other items as well.
There is very little set up involved and each activity will address a variety of developmental skills for your growing toddler or preschool. Some activities will help to improve fine motor schools, visual-motor, and visual-spatial skills, letter/number/shape/color recognition, counting, sorting, etc.
Take a look at all of these muffin tin activity ideas and find a few that your toddler or preschooler will love!
Bear Capture Cutting Practice
This is a great way to practice or introduce cutting to your toddler or preschooler! Tell your child that there are some bears (or any toys you want to use) trapped under the tape. Have your child cut through the tap to rescue their toys.
Foam Cut and Sort
Cut out 1 circle from each color foam sheet that you have. Then cut up the remaining foam sheets into small squares. Using tongs, have your child place all the foam pieces of a certain color into the corresponding muffin cup.
Have your preschooler roll the dice and learn how to count the dots on a dice. Find the corresponding number and place that many counters in the muffin cup.
Magnetic Tile Color Sort
Place a muffin tin upside down and put a piece of tape on each cup. Use a marker to place a circle of color the same as all of the Magnetic tiles. Have your child place the Magnetic Tile of the corresponding color onto each colored circle.
Letter Sound Sort
Write a letter on the inside of a cupcake liner and place them in each muffin holder. Give your child a box of toys that begin with the letters that you’ve chosen. Have them match each toy to the corresponding letter sound.
Muffin Tin Geoboard
Give your child some colorful rubber bands and have them stretch each one over the backs of the muffin tin cups. For younger children, they may only be able to do 1 or 2 cups, but older children can try to stretch the rubber band over a whole row.
Write a number on each cupcake liner. Give your child a bunch of Cheerios and tell her to put the corresponding amount of Cheerios in each cupcake liner.
Froot Loop Color Sort
Cut out a shape of colored construction paper and place it in the bottom of a muffin tin tray. Have your child place from loops into each corresponding muffin holder.
Black Bean Taco Cups
Kids have fun cutting, mashing, scooping and sprinkling in this fun cooking activity for kids. Cooking also teaches kids healthy eating habits, and best of all, you have a healthy meal to enjoy together at the end. Check out the whole, kid-friendly recipe here.
Magnet Letter Match
Use magnetic letters to stick into muffin tins. Since the tins are metal, they will need to practice fine motor skills to pull the magnet out. Have them say the letter and the sound it makes as they take it out.
PomPom Color Sort
Simply cut circles out of various colors of construction paper. Place them in the bottom of muffin tins. Have your child place the pompoms of corresponding colors into each muffin holder.
Have your child use a spatula to carry small blocks and drop them into the muffin tin cups.
I hope you enjoyed these super simple muffin tin activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Try out one or a few and take note of the ones your child likes the most. When you’re stuck trying to figure out ways to entertain and teach your little one, you can always think of these!