As a parent, sometimes great tips/tools/activities are stumbled upon accidentally out of a necessity.
My recent discovery of another wonderful use for a muffin tin (upside down) just such a time.
Many of the fellow bloggers that are part of the Weekly Kids Co-Op (linky below) utilize muffin tins in amazing ways, and I started using it for snacks for my toddler because of a blog.
The other day, though, while cooking dinner, I wanted my toddler in his high chair in the kitchen with me, so as to not worry about what he was doing in some other part of the house. He was not as excited about being in the chair while I was still cooking.
We had recently got some letter magnets, though, so I placed the high chair within reaching range of the magnets, which were on the side of the fridge, then would ask him to see if he could find a letter.
As he found the letters, he wanted somewhere to put them, but would sometimes drop them if they were just on his high chair tray. So, we turned his muffin tin upside down, and it became the perfect magnetized surface for him to place his letters on. Back and forth letters went.
I loved this discovery because I realized that this muffin tin exercise would be great for early spelling and directional learning. "Find the S. Put it on the left. Find the K. Put it in the middle. Find the Y. Put in on the right." (Our muffin tin he uses is 2x3). The activity builds on the concept of left and right, and he spells his name(even though at not quite 2 1/2 he doesn't really realize it).
Another cool element to doing this game while dinner is being made is that you can connect the letters to the food. "Mommy is making pasta. Can you find P for pasta?" It allows the little one to feel involved in the process, which they often really want, without making things more difficult.
We also, after dinner last night, started with BOY on top and SAD on the bottom and then switched letters out one at a time to make other words. For example, BOY become BAY and the MAY and SAD became SOD and then MUD. The fun goes on and on.