Continuing in my series of "Things I can't live without", I would like to tell you about our trays. I used to collect trays. In our apartment I had a display of them hanging on the wall of our dining room. After we began homeschooling, my husband went to the cafeteria located in the building where he works and purchased some plastic trays. He brought home a stack of 6-8 plastic trays.
I use these trays weekly. We use them for art projects. T-Bone loves to add glitter to cards and pictures. I have him make his creations on the tray. When he is finished, I can pick up the tray and place it on the kitchen counter, or on top of the refrigerator out of the way. When the project dries, I can tip the tray and put all the excess glitter back into the bottle, or throw it away. I have even written the boys names on each of two trays so that I can give them "their" tray on which to put an art project. A few of the trays have paint marks on them because they can paint outside the lines and off the paper. If a tray has a paint mark on it I am not upset. If our kitchen table has a big blue paint mark, I may be a bit more distressed.
Right now, for our Pilgrim/Thanksgiving study, we are building log cabins out of Lincoln Logs. I have the boys build them on trays so that we can easily move the cabins off the table in order to eat our supper.
When we have multiple projects, like Christmas cards, I can place 2 or three cards on a tray at a time to dry. By stacking one tray across another they can stack up without pressing down on the artwork beneath them. This is how we allow paintings to dry also.
Of course, we have other trays. There is a decorative inlaid-wooden tray on our table right now. It is filled with leaves, a pumpkin, candles, an apple and our pilgrim salt and pepper shakers. This is our holiday centerpiece. The boys have added to it when they find something seasonal that reminds them of harvest-time and Thanksgiving.
We also have TV trays. These are wooden trays with legs on them. We use those to eat supper in the living room on cold nights when it's just nicer to be by the fire then to be in the kitchen. Those trays come in handy when the boys want to color or write while watching TV, or if we want to have our lessons in the living room.
Trays are something I definitely cannot live without. I get so much use from them. Find a school or restaurant in your area that might allow you to purchase a few and you will find them indespensable!