As promised, I have included all of our tuff tray ideas in one blog post for quick at a glance play inspiration. We love tuff trays because the benefits of open ended play do wonders for child development. You can start with a simple set up and begin with sensory ideas for babies such as creating colour themes or work with textures. By the time they reach toddlerhood, children are familiar with the play concept and you can start to create small worlds and more exciting themes. You can adapt any idea to be age appropriate for your child and work with the space and resources you have at home.
1. Fireman Tuff Tray
This is one of our favourite tuff tray ideas. Turn the Tuff Tray up on it’s side and prop it up against a wall or sturdy bench. Use paint or chalk to add flames to the tuff ray and then let your child loose with a hose pipe or a water spray bottle to extinguish the flames. You can add any toy characters to the lip at the top for rescuing or blasting off.
2. Dinosaur Swamp Tuff Tray
Use some mud, twigs and if you have it, some slime along with some dinosaur figures. This one is a great sensory activity, messy and sticky with lots of potential for expanding and developing. You can take this kind of tuff tray idea and run with it.
3. Construction Tuff Tray
With various mediums collected from the garden this is a great one you can get some hands on fun with. I went around the garden and collected some sand, compost, bark and gravel for the different textures and then added all of the different yellow construction vehicles I could find.
4. Arctic Tuff Tray
Even in the colder seasons it is great to get outdoors. This arctic themed tuff tray helped Arlo to understand cold habitats. I froze some of his favourite animal toys in a bowl of water and then placed them in a tuff tray with some colourful foams and he went to town trying to free the animals. Using warm water and then collecting various tools for himself – exercising his problem solving skills.
5. Nature Printing Tuff Tray
There are always lots of treasures to be collected on autumn walks, we often end up with armfuls of pinecones and twigs. These make great patterns when you use them instead of brushes and can also look great when decorated. My advice when providing paint is to use paper plates and put similar colours together – never mix opposites on the colour wheel to avoid getting in to a muddy brown mess.
6. Under the sea Tray
This tray includes dyed spaghetti, slime and bubble wrap. It’s all about creating a sensory experience and then I added in some of Arlos favourite animals which live in water for some small world play.
7. Gruffalo Tray
How exciting is it to bring stories to life? Harry is really intrigued with his Gruffalo play tray which enables him to reenact moments from the book. With lots of sensory elements including dyed rice and so many illustrations from the book for inspiration you could go to town (or to the deep dark woods) with this idea from @just.a.normal.girl.sw
8. Mini Beast Tray
This tray made use of some packaging material and compost with some miniature bug toys. I added a printed “checklist” resource from Twinkl on a clipboard with a pencil as well as including a book about bugs which is propped up on a recipe book stand from ikea. The addition of these extra things promotes literacy and also helps with mark making. As we did this tuff tray in the garden we also found some real bugs to look at which made it all the more interesting.
Last Updated on 7 months by Lavania Oluban