7 Ways to Use Chocolate Trays in Play

Background photo shows a young child using a pair of tongs to pick up pom poms and place them in a chocolate tray. Text says 'New on the Blog: 7 ways to use chocolate trays in play', and a Simply Play Today logo is at the bottom.

Have you’ve over-indulged yourself in All. The. Chocolates the past few weeks, and have a few chocolate boxes left over? No? Just me?

Maybe you’ve got the kids’ chocolate advent calendars that can’t fit into the overflowing recycling bin? Again, just me?

Our recycling bin is overflowing (literally!) with the boxes and packaging for all eight cousins’ presents after hosting a pre-Christmas day at our house, so we simply don’t have the space for our chocolate boxes and advent calendar trays until after bin day – and that can’t come quick enough!

So while we wait to recycle them, I decided to use them to inspire some play, because if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know how much I love using old things in new ways, and the Christmas recycling is no exception!

So, here are seven ways that you can use chocolate trays in your little one’s play:

Pom Pom Transfer
Grab some pom poms (or some other small loose parts – mini baubles work well too!) and some tongs or a spoon and encourage your little one to put the pom poms into the different sections. This is perfect for developing fine motor skills, hand strength and hand-eye coordination, which are all critical pre-writing skills.

Pom Pom Soup
We love a bit of pom pom soup here! To make your ‘soup’, add pom poms to a container or large bowl of water (if you’re feeling extra fun, add a few drops of food colouring too!). Then add a variety of utensils to encourage scooping and pouring. You can also add your empty chocolate trays to encourage transferring, again helping to develop those finger and hand muscles!

Older children might like the challenge of making patterns using coloured pom poms, bottle lids or other loose parts in the rows of the chocolate trays.

Number Match
Write numbers in the bottom of each section, then write the same numbers on small rocks or bottle lids for your little one to match. You can also try this with colours if numbers would be too challenging for your little one.

Colour Mixing
Fill a few jars or cups with coloured water, then use a dropper to add different colours to each section of the chocolate trays to explore colour mixing and making new colours.

Cotton Bud Painting
Add a small amount of paint to each section and use cotton buds to explore making dots and lines to create an artwork! Remember, this experience is all about exploring the process rather than the end product.

Add the trays to your craft supplies
There’s nothing more fun than a new and interesting addition to your craft supplies to ignite some creativity during your little ones’ next making session! Your little one might like to paint the tray, cut it up into the little squares, stick the tray onto other boxes – the possibilities are endless!

Of course, these ideas are in no way exhaustive – in fact, I’m sure you can think of some other ways to use your old chocolate boxes and trays in your little one’s play. But for now, I hope this list has given you some ideas to inspire play in your home in the coming days!

If you’re after even more ways to play with your little ones these holidays, you can download my Spark Play ebook, filled with plenty of simple ideas to kick-start your little one’s play!

Happy playing!

Lycie x