"Play gives your children a chance to practice what they are learning."- Mr. Rogers. How true is that?! Listening to Evie play with the small world today gave me so much joy and encouragement! We have been through the ringer as far as gaining ground with her speech progress. It has been defeating, exhausting, frustrating, and just down right hard not being able to communicate with my number one girl! She was diagnosed with Apraxia a few months ago, and has since started with a new therapist who has been a literal God send. We are FINALLY getting some traction and seeing some real progress. Every new word, new phase, and new sound she produces has my heart skipping a beat! While she played today, I heard her give her little fish voices, personalities, and LIFE! It was such a sweet sound, hearing her little fish talking back and forth, new sounds rolling off her tongue and new words creeping into FULL sentences. Praising God this morning for answered prayers!! Now here's the low down on this tray-- needed something to keep my three babies busy while I cleaned our terrible messy kitchen, so I spent about 5 minutes putting together these little small worlds, knowing they would buy me a good chunk of time to get things done! I am happy to report that these trays kept Evie and Kerr busy for almost an entire hour! Baby Rhett only lasted about 20 minutes with his, but thats longer than he usually lasts, he's only 15 months old ;) I made a fresh batch of blue and cinnamon play dough last night that I used for the sand and water, and used some green pasta that we had dyed a while back. Threw in some ocean animals, wine corks, (haha!) shells, tongs, and some stones and wallah- they had a fun little ocean to explore and play with! For Baby Rhett, I just used pasta, animals and corks in a bin for him to mess around with. He loves play dough, but I wasn't up for the mess today! This is a great activity to give you some time to do what you need to do- but if you have time to sit an play with, you can encourage your kids to count, sort and use the tongs to pick up various objects in the tray to work on those fine motor skills! When I was finished cleaning, we sorted all of the pasta into a separate bowl, which was helpful when it was time for me to clean this up! Counted all of our fish and talked about each fish, their colors, and gave them names! Such a great way to learn and expand language and vocabulary!