It’s that time of the week again where the nurseries compete to be the winners of the Tuff Tray Challenge! This week, have seen 3 different tuff trays! Winklebury created a tuff tray based on a childhood favourite. Highdown explored the world and Worthing visited the fun fair. But who is going to be this weeks champions? Will it be Highdown, the past two weeks winners?


INTENT: This weeks themed tuff tray is based on a shared interest of the book ‘The very hungry caterpillar’. One of the reasons other than all the children really enjoying this book at group time is that the story teaches us about healthy eating as well as the life cycle of a butterfly. Here at Winklebury promoting healthy eating is important for the learning and development of the children as they learn to know what food is good for us. 

IMPLEMENT: In this Tuff tray I used mud, pasta and coloured rice as the base. I also had some real fruit and had some children try the fruit to leave bite marks in them. I also printed out a few pictures and resources from the story so the children can familiarise and recognise the trays theme as this tray has been intended for the younger children. At the top of the tray I recreated a page from the book and the rest of the tray has lines and pictures from the story. I also printed out the caterpillar before, during and after their life cycle using the pictures from the book and some number leaves to practise our counting skills!

IMPACT: The children loved this tray and was fully engaged in play. The children went straight to the tools and started digging with them. They used their hands to explore the textures of the mud, pasta and rice and their noses to smell the mud. Some of the children engaged in conversations about the fruit and one child pointed to the fruit and said “mmm good”. All the children recognised that the tray was based off ‘the very hungry caterpillar’ and enjoyed looked through the book whilst playing in the tray. 


INTENT: This week our tuff tray was based around our children’s interest of compasses and exploring the world! The idea around the tray was to get the children to take part in an experiment where they were encouraged to see what materials would float and which ones would sink in order to create the perfect compass. By seeing if the materials float or sink, will encourage the children to work alongside each other to problem solve, enabling friendships to be made.

IMPLEMENT: In this tray, we added instructions on how to make a compass, pictures of what compasses look like and an atlas so that the children would know what the tray is for. We also included different types of materials and resources for the children to use for creating their compasses which were: corks, tissue paper, foam paper, scissors, magnets and water. We added different coloured and shapes magnets for the children to practice their maths skills by connecting the shapes together to create a compass and naming the colours they use.

IMPACT: The children quickly gathered around the tuff tray to find out what they were going to take part in. An adult then explained the intent of the tray which was to experiment with different materials, seeing what floats and what sinks to create the best compass to guide us. They then took it in turns to choose their desired materials and place them into the water. The children spoke about what directions the compass may show us: North, East, South and West. After a while, the children started to take the lead of the tray, placing all the materials in the water to see how quickly they dissolved and ,add the water clear again.


INTENT: This week we have created a colourful funfair themed tuff tray!! As we are reaching the end of the summer, the fun doesn’t stop!! We wanted the children to experience a trip to the funfair. We recreated all the fair has to offer, including rides, the circus, the games and the yummy food stalls. We will be encouraging the children to speak about their own experiences at the funfair or imagine the beauty of one. We will talking about the different rides, what you can see at the circus and all of their favourite foods. We had a hook a duck game in which the children can play to see how many ducks they can catch! 

IMPLEMENT: The tuff tray has a range of sections that you would likely see at the funfair, we sectioned them by using grass for the rides, coloured rice for the circus’s sand and blue rice with tissue paper for the water. We have created a food stall with a menu and giant popcorn box! They’re two rides for the children interact with a vehicle ride and tall spinning wheel. We also included a circus, with a clown a circus tent and some animals. We made our own hook a duck fair game.  by using ducks and fishing food. The tray has lots of happy figures for the children to see the enjoyment. 

IMPACT: The children very excitedly came rushing over the tuff. They enjoyed listening to ‘The greatest showman’ music whilst they played. The children immediately recognised it as the “funfair” and began telling each other their own experiences of being at the fair. The children were very eager to catch the ducks with the fishing rods. They cheered each other on each time they won! The children used the figurines to navigate around the tray and take a trip on all of the rides “whoosh” they said as they spun round and round on the spinning wheel. We spoked about the circus acts and what they can expect to see at the circus, the children began roleplaying with the circus animals “ROARR” and the clown. We had the best time! 


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