I know it looks like a tray of colourful junk... oh wait, it is a tray of colourful junk? That may be but it will lead to some sensory stimulating pre-maths skills.
I saw this post on developing early maths skills from Mommy With Selective Memory and with three toddlers and no planned activities one day, decided it was time to throw something together and call it educational!
I had in mind that the kiddos would probably want to sort by colour, but I also added in different textures, sizes, materials and uses so they could go with whatever took their fancy, and if they weren't into sorting, there's still a lot of sensory bits and bobs to play around with.
I used magnet letters, cotton reels, cookie cutters, our Rainbow Colour Matching Sticks, felt shapes, a foam xylophone, plastic tongs and some Tactile Exploration Cards
They were all really into this tray and played with it for almost 35 minutes - yes, three 2 year olds sitting in the same place playing with the same thing! I think it might have been all the bright colours and because they are used to seeing all these elements separately it was something new to see them mixed up.
p.s. obviously I have a lot of colourful junk in my house, but you could use natural elements (sticks, stones, leaves, conkers, pinecones), food stuff (dried beans, rice, pasta, nuts and seeds) or art supplies (cut up straws, pipecleaners, pom poms, crayons) - the idea is that the kids will want to sort, sequence and categorise so you just need to provide enough stuff for them to take the lead!