Cat in the Hat Sensory Tray

Following on from our Lorax themed science ideas, I’ve got a fun Cat in the Hat sensory tray to share today. We used ours to explore magnetic and non-magnetic objects and for some number practice, but you could add letters and spell words, count or sort  items pulled out of the tray and lots more.

Cat in the hat

What you’ll need:


Food Colouring

Ziploc bags

Magnets and magnet wand


Cat in the Hat cutouts

Magnetic balls and discs

How to colour rice

Place plain, cheap rice inside a ziploc bag, add a little food colouring and shake until all the rice is coloured.

Pour into a baking tray and leave to dry.

Once the rice was dry I arranged it to look like a Cat in the Hat hat and added some small magnetic balls and discs as well as some printouts of the Cat in the Hat hat.

Dr Seuss sensory tray

Learning ideas

Add magnetic and non magnetic items to your tray and ask the children to sort the materials depending on whether they are magnetic or not.

Use the tray for fine motor skill practice and add small beads and pom poms for the children to pick up.

Add lots of small objects children can sort by colour, size or whether they are magnetic or not.

We used the numbers on the hats to find pairs of number bonds to 10.

Questions to think and talk about

Is the magnet attracted to all the items in the tray?

Is it easier to pick up a thick or thin item with the tweezers?

Do you have to squeeze the tweezers harder to pick up a smaller item?

Do the magnetic items have anything in common?

What happens if you hold two magnets together? Can you feel them attract and repel each other?

Cat in the Hat rice tray

Why does this happen?

Magnets have two poles, a north pole and a south pole. The north pole of one magnet will repel (push away) the north pole of another magnet. The south pole will repel another south pole. Opposite poles are attracted to each other.

Magnets attract objects made with iron. Remember Aluminium is not magnetic.

Links with English

Can you write a letter to the Cat in the Hat telling him about an adventure you’ve had?

Can you write a list of magnetic and non-magnetic items.

Links to Maths

Can you count the number of magnetic and non-magnetic items?

Are there more magnetic or more non-magnetic items?

Can you lay the magnetic items out in an array?

More ideas

We love this Cat in the Hat inspired number line from Rainy Day Mum.

Cat in the hat sensory tray

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