Cool & Creative Ways to Use Your Muffin Tins!

Toss and Answer

I will leave you with one last Literacy game before we move on from this series and it’s called Toss and Answer, again from Jodie over at Growing Book By Book. If you haven’t checked her out yet please do so. She is an educator of 17 years with a very impressive resume but above all that she has a passion for Early Literacy! 🙂

Here is her post on the Toss and Answer game… enjoy!

This activity allows a little gross motor exercise while practicing some vocabulary words.  Developing a child’s vocabulary increases their reading and writing ability.  I’m a big fan of Isabel Beck’s work with vocabulary.  She talks about three tiers of words.  Tier 1 words are those concrete words we pick up pretty naturally such as table, chair, and dog.  Tier 3 words are specific to a subject area such as polygon and photosynthesis.  Tier 2 words are words that we see across multiple contexts and need to be specifically taught to children.  See the 12 examples above in the picture.

Materials Needed: 1 muffin tin, 12 small post-its or small paper slips, 1 marker, Tier 2 word list,  a soft object to toss into the tin

Select 12 vocabulary words (words should have already been introduced to the child) and write each on a post-it or small paper slip.  Place one word in each tin.  The child takes the soft ball and tosses it into the tin.  Whatever word it lands on is the word to utilize for that turn.  For round one have the child define the word in their kid language.  Memorizing dictionary definitions is useless.  In round two, the child can use the word in a creative sentence.  For round three, have the child name something that does not fit with the word.  For example, if the word was shy, the child could say a politician who walks up to strangers and talks to them is not shy.  It’s important for children to manipulate the word in many different formats so that the vocabulary word becomes more natural for them.

So, one muffin tin can provide numerous learning opportunities for your child.  Can you think of literacy uses for muffin tins?  I’d love for you to share your ideas.

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Match -a- Roo

Happy Monday everyone! As promised today I will share with you another fun & educational reading game from Jodie at Growing Book By Book!

This one is called Match-a-Roo and it requires that the child match an object with a word.

As you can see Jodie used colors and color words but you can use whatever you like depending on your child’s level. She even suggests matching Spanish words with their English equivalents! I wouldn’t have thought of that one! 😉


Materials Needed:

1 muffin tin

12 small post-its or small paper slips

1 marker

a variety of small colored objects (In the picture above, Jodie used removable colored dots, colored paper clips and marker caps.)


Here’s What You Do:

Place a colored object in each muffin tin.  Next, write each corresponding word on a post-it or other small paper slips.  The child then takes the words and places each in the correct tin.


That’s pretty simple right?! You can challenge your child in SO many ways with this activity. You’ll be glad you did when they’re SUPER KIDS and bringing home the A’s. Early literacy very important, especially now a days! Help your child get ahead by playing with them, play after all is the BEST way to learn 🙂

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Muffin Tin Sight Word Game

School is starting soon so why not give your little ones a head start?! Help your child recognize sight words with this fun muffin tin game! Photo and credit for this genius idea go to Jodie at Growing Book By 😀 I will be sharing more of her reading games in my next few posts to help you give your little readers a head start. There’s no better time than now to start cultivating a passion for reading!!

A little background on the subject 🙂 … Dolch words, or sight words, provide an excellent base for reading at an early age. They are often called sight words because some of them can’t be sounded out, and need to be learned by sight. Here is a fun way to work with your young reader and start them down the path of literacy. This activity is great for Pre-K, K and even 1st graders.

Three in a Row (This game is played like tic tac toe.)

Materials Needed:

1 muffin tin

12 paper cupcake liners

1 marker

1 Dolch sight word list

A handful of place markers such as hard candy or cereal

On the bottom of each cupcake liner write a sight word.  Place each liner in a muffin tin cup.  You are ready to play!  One person calls out a word.  The other person takes a place marker and puts it in the correct cup.  When three in a row is achieved, you have a winner.

Simple, learning, fun! What are you going to do with your muffin tin today? 🙂

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Candy Match Game

Whether it’s too wet or to steamy and your stuck inside with the kiddos, take the time to play with them, you will both appreciate it later 🙂  Here is a fun game for those days when it’s too yucky to go outside & play. Packed full of learning opportunities for your little one! This activity is great for teaching counting, 1 to 1 correspondence as well as practicing fine motor skills and so much more!


What you need…

Mini muffin tin

One large foam dice

A cup of M&M’s for each player (sorted into colors as seen above)


Here’s the how to from Michelle from at Totally Tots.

To play, we took turns rolling the dice and then matching the M&M’s to the dots on the dice.  This really helped Juliette (2.5 years) practice counting and to see how many she needed.  For Emily (almost 5 years old) this was great practice in recognizing the amounts shown on the dice, she would say how many she needed and then get them.


Finally, she placed one M&M in each spot in the mini-muffin tin and then the next person took their turn until we filled up the whole tray.


While working together to fill up the tray we did a lot of counting.  The girls were excited when we finished and Emily thought it would be a good idea to count each color of M&M’s to see which color we had the most of.  This was a great opportunity to extend this for Emily and talk about comparing amounts.

*This game can be changed to fit any theme that you are working with, instead of candy you can use mini erasers, buttons, coins, pom poms or any other small items you wish.

You can’t beat good old fashioned play time with your kids, it goes so far ❤ And how cool that we can do it with a muffin tin, lol!

I have more learning while you play, muffin tin activities to share so keep coming back for more!!

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Muffin Tin Sorting (plus a bonus craft)

Everybody loves a two for one deal! So this morning I have some more educational fun with muffin tins plus a craft to go with it 😀

Color sorting is fun with muffin tins and easy too. Here are some pictures to give you ideas…


The pom poms came from Pinterest but there was no site to trace it back to.

– The concept is pretty simple though… just use colored paper and cut out a circle that is large enough to fill the bottom of each cup (a different color for each muffin space). Then give your child the color coordinating pom poms to sort! You can pick up these supplies at any craft or teacher store, even Walmart and I love the primary & pastel color themes, how fun!

The paper squares come from

– The same concept applies for the paper squares… cut out a circle that is large enough to fill the bottom of each tray (a different color for each muffin space). Then cut twenty-five small squares of each color that is in the tin. Mix up the colored squares and have them put the squares into the cup with the same matching color paper.

*NOTE: Store pom poms and paper squares in plastic baggies for later use. This is a great rainy day activity 🙂

Now for the Fruit Loops!! This one comes from A great site for babysitters, it has activities for all ages and lots of great tips! They really focus on safety, hence the name 😉 Here are their instructions for sorting fruit loops…

Materials Needed:

  • Muffin tin
  • Multi-colored, O-shaped cereal (approved by parent) OR
  • Safe toys of different colors


  1. Using a muffin tin, have the toddler or preschooler sort cereal by color.  Most young children love to sort things and are able to sort by color with help from you. If approved by parent, let child eat the cereal.
  2. If cereal is not available or not approved by parent, have the child sort toys (such as blocks) by color. Then play with the blocks or different colored toys.

And now for your little something extra… the bonus craft! 😀

Cereal Bracelet Craft from No Time for Flashcards learning and play for babies, toddlers and kids.

Do you remember candy bracelets?  This activity puts an educational and healthier twist to that bracelet from your past.



Muffin tin

Pipe Cleaners (aka chenille stems)

Loop cereal such as Fruit Cheerios or Fruit Loops



Have child sort cereal by color into the muffin tin. While that is going on (or you can do this before hand) fold the tips of the chenille stems inward to make sure the wire does not poke the children.

Ask which colors he or she would like to use to make a bracelet.  They may only want to use 2, 3 or all six colors! Then ask them to thread the cereal onto the stem in a pattern. Depending on your child, you can do patterns of AB AB, AA BB (like you see below), ABC ABC, or any other pattern.

* NOTE: Even if your child is not ready for patterns simply threading the cereal onto the stem is a great activity for working on fine motor skills.

To make it a neat bracelet simply wrap the chenille stem around their wrist and twist the ends together.  Now you have a great snack to finish up your fun learning activity.  And the best thing about this snack is that it is portable and can be taken along for the fun!

How about that?!!! Fun, learning and a snack all rolled into one!

Come back next week for more muffin tin fun, I have a couple new recipes to share!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone, enjoy 😀









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Flip-less Pancakes!

This morning I have for you a delicious family activity! Flip-less Pancakes from Amanda at Excited 2 Learn. This is not only a yummy recipe but also educational for the kiddos 😀

Amanda says this about it… ” It started as a cooking project then evolved into a treasure hunt, science and math activity.”

Even older children will get something out of this, think of it as home ec 😉 They do still teach that in schools they just call it something different. At my kid’s middle school it’s Family Consumer Science, lol. Anyway, here ya go, have fun!!!

What you will need:

Muffin tins of course 😉

Liners for the muffin tin or cooking spray if you choose not to line the cups

Various measuring cups, spoons, bowls, cutting utensils etc.

A large plastic mat to put down if you like Amanda’s method 🙂

Pancake mix or your own recipe

12 different items to put in your pancakes (or however many you like)

**Example of items to add: raisins, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, maple syrup, frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, peaches, chocolate chips, nuts, tiny pieces of orange, marshmallows, colored sprinkles, pumpkin, cinnamon, cherries, blackberries, butterscotch or peanut butter bits, shredded cheese, lemon juice & sugar, honey…. and the list could go on and on! Basically add whatever you like! Get crazy and experiment 🙂

And here’s how she did it. (with her daughter L)

1. I read the recipe while L. helped get each of the ingredients.

2. L. helped measure the ingredients and put them in separate bowls so she could do all the pouring on her own.  This was very important to her and probably will be to your child too!

3. L. poured all the ingredients into her large mixing bowl and mixed away.

4. L. put muffin cups (liners) into the muffin tins.  The babies loved playing with the muffin cups as well.

5. I put half of the batter into a glass measuring cup so she could pour a little batter into the muffin cups more easily.

6. We went on a treasure hunt around our kitchen finding 12 different items to put in our pancakes. Our goal was to make 12 different types and see which we liked best. We used raisins, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, maple syrup, frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, and bananas. For baby B. we added grape yogurt, yogurt melts and mashed sweet potatoes.

7. L. cut the bananas & strawberries into tiny pieces with a butter knife. She was very proud of herself!

8. We put each ingredient into its own muffin cup.

9. L. put a little of the filling in batter on spots by each muffin in the pan to identify them. This took a lot of concentration and spatial planning on L.’s part. It was great watching her figure it out like a puzzle.

10. We baked the “pancakes” at 325 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes, depending upon how much batter you use.

11. We had a taste test. L. loved them all. I had to agree with her. It was so much fun trying each one that after we tried a couple we decided to close our eyes, taste and guess which it was, bringing lots of laughter! L.‘s favorites were the strawberry, sweet potato and grape yogurt. My favorites were the coconut, banana and sweet potato. I will definitely start putting shredded coconut in pancakes from now on!

12. L made a second batch by mixing all different ingredients together. She looked and sounded like a true scientist making all sorts of concoctions. She spent over a half an hour preparing them. I put a waterproof sheet on the floor and let her mix away so she could move all around the tins.

13. We baked them and enjoyed eating every last one!

14. Clean up time. 😀

What an awesome way to spend a Saturday morning with your family, am I right?!! My kids would love doing this and they range in age from 9 months to 14 years old so it’s an activity EVERYONE can get in on 🙂

Just another wonderful way to celebrate the muffin tin! Is yours feeling the love?

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Teaching One to One Correspondence

Today I have one of many educational uses for your muffin tins, because after all YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher 🙂

This activity is designed for younger children like preschoolers. Recently I had noticed my 2 year old was counting but not touching the objects and she was  just naming random numbers but not actually equating them with the objects she was counting. I kept trying to show her the right way and  moved her finger over the objects and counted out loud with her but she was insistent on doing it her way. I was getting frustrated because I know she can count from 1 to 10 quite easily, so why is she doing this? Enter the concept of one to one correspondence…

This concept is so fundamental that we often don’t even think about it. Most people want to jump right into teaching their kiddos to count 1-10. While Rote learning (memorizing counting numbers) is a handy tool, it can just be like singing a song and have no meaning to them. In order to lay a strong foundation for mathematical understanding they need to fully understand the meaning behind each of those numbers, AHA! So that’s what’s going on here!

One-to-one correspondence is the ability to match numbers to objects or object to object; for example, the numbers one to five matching five blocks, or matching one sock to one shoe or in this case one apple to one muffin tin hole 😉

I went on a researching spree and came up with the following…




The next activity I found is called Tennis Ball Puzzler. This one came from a fellow blogger as well on a site called Parents as Teachers.

For this activity you will need 7 tennis balls and a 6 cup muffin tin.

Here’s what you do…

  1. Place the muffin tin on the floor or a table. Hand your child the tennis balls, one at a time, and ask her to put them into the muffin cups.
  2. Repeat until all 6 tennis balls are placed in a muffin cup.
  3. Now ask her to dump the balls out and do it again.
  4. Repeat the game several times, each time talking about what she is doing.

Ok, simple enough right? But wait there’s more!

  1. After she has dumped out all six balls hand her the 7th ball.
  2. Again encourage her to put one into each cup. (Now that there are 7 tennis balls, one will be left over.)
  3. Observe how she solves the problem of the extra ball.
  4. If she gets frustrated and doesn’t understand why there is a problem, count the balls together. “Let’s count the muffin cups. 1-2-3-4-5-6. Now let’s count the balls. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Well, no wonder! There are too many tennis balls!”

I like the puzzler challenge aspect of this one 🙂 I can’t wait to do this with my little one. And since today is another wet and rainy one guess what we’ll be doing! What will you be doing with your muffin tin today?

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Muffin Tin Math

Here’s one for you teachers and parents of young ones 🙂 This is a simple math activity that you can customize to the child’s skill level.
Simply grab a muffin tin and some small items to count. You can use things like beans, pasta, marshmallows, pom poms or buttons, the options are endless (especially if you hit the craft store!). The first example of this activity I found at Mess for I love the use of disposables and the colorful button shapes totally rock!

Here’s a list of supplies…

  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin Cups (liners)
  • Buttons or some other small objects
  • Marker
Here are her instructions…
Write some numbers on some muffin cups. I started with 4 and went through 9. For more of a challenge you can used a 12 count muffin cup and make bigger numbers. Place the numbered muffin cups in the muffin tin. Give your child an assortment of buttons or other small objects and have them put the appropriate number into each muffin tin.
You can expand on this by adding cups together and subtracting as well. For example pull out the 4 and 2 liners and and say 4 + 2 =_. And then the child can make their calculation and count the objects inside the two liners together to check their work!  🙂
The second example of this activity is from It was in their Valentine day activities but the principal is the same. I just wanted to show you one done in a regular muffin tin (not disposable). If you have a muffin tin you are willing to dedicate to this activity you can paint it or decorate it in a special theme of your choosing to keep in your activity center, game closet or class room! This one is done up for Valentine’s Day and uses cute little teddy bears with heart tummies 🙂 This could also make a neat gift for a Preschool or Kindergarten class room! Get creative and share the muffin tin love!!

Muffin Tin Magnet Exploration

Time for some educational fun! The preschool teacher in me has been dying to post this one, the kids are gonna love it!! This activity is best for ages 3 and up and in a supervised environment 🙂  I found this one on a site called Pre-K Pages and I really enjoyed it. I suggest you take a peek if you have preschoolers, she has a lot of fun activities! It was through her site that I found Crafty Chic Mommy‘s blog about the Muffin Tin Magnetic Tray. Now since they were slightly different I kind of melded what I thought were the best parts of each one together here for you but you can visit both sites separately if you like 😉 This activity can be done for a class of students or your own children at home whether you have 1 or enough to qualify as your own class, lol!



  • String or Yarn {to attach wand to tin}
  • Magnetic Wand {find at local craft store, about $1-2 each}
  • Muffin Tin {6 cup or 12 cup}
  • Wedding Favor Tins {find at local craft store}
  • Magnetic and non-magnetic odds and ends to put in tins {6 or 12 different items depending on muffin tin size}
  • Glue {to seal lids & prevent choke hazard}
  • Self Adhesive Velcro {to affix cups to tins but also allow for removal & closer examination of items}

Place your magnetic and non-magnetic items into the wedding favor tins and secure the lids with glue the lids for safety.  Place the Velcro on the bottom of your muffin tin cups and the opposing piece on your wedding favor cups. If your muffin tin has a hole at the end like the one pictured at the top you can attach your magnet wand using string or yarn. This will prevent the wand from being lost and hopefully keep the wand from coming in contact with a computer, T.V. or other electronic device. Yikes!

Items you can put in your muffin tin:

  • Plastic Bottle Caps
  • Wiggly Eyes
  • Paper Clips
  • Pipe Cleaners {cut-up}
  • Mini-Clothespins
  • Staples
  • Jewels
  • Bells
  • Paper Clips
  • Beads
  • Crayon pieces
  • Dice
  • Marbles
  • Erasers
  • Legos
  • Cork
  • The possibilities are endless 🙂

Crafty Chic Mom has some EXCELLENT tips and she says it perfectly so I won’t even try to reword them because I would suggest the EXACT same things so this is what she says…

1. Be sure to explain to your child(ren) what magnetic means and why some items are magnetic and some are not. I do it in a very simple way that a child can understand without getting into all the scientific aspects of magnets….heck I don’t even know that….science wasn’t my thing. Try something along the lines of ” some things around us in our house or preschool are made of metal. Metal is hard and can be found on a stove or a fridge. When a magnet touches something metal it STICKS to it like this (demonstrate). If something is not metal it will NOT stick to a magnet. Children will quickly discover that when they move their magnet wand over the magnetic items in the jar they will quickly jump to the top of the lid.

2. Give the child a magnet to look at first and then introduce an item that is magnetic and non magnetic. Once the child is done exploring the two items allow them to try out the muffin tin. They will also be surprised to find that the muffin tin itself is magnetic.

3. Ask your child(ren) to guess what items they think are magnetic and which are not. Make a record on a chart.

4. For the classroom- have each child bring something magnetic and non magnetic from home to be explored.

5. At home- get your child(ren) involved with making their own magnetic muffin tray using small items from around the house. (This is a personal preference) You may want to make it ahead of time and present it to your children, it’s up to you. 🙂

I hope you enjoy this activity, who knew muffin tins could be used in such an educational way?!  Why MuffinTinMommy and these two ladies of course 😉 Come back for more creative ways to use your muffin tins… who knows what we’ll find next!!

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