It’s time for everybody’s favourite competition, the tuff tray challenge! All of the nurseries have been working so hard to create the inviting and fun tuff trays this week and of course, there can only be one winner! Winklebury explored the current season, Autumn! Complete with conkers too. Highdown had a tiger come to tea! And Worthing, used their Autumn inspired tuff tray to support letter writing.

Who will win this weeks tuff tray? All voted by each staff members across all 3 sites!


INTENT: This week’s tuff tray was an autumn themed tuff tray! We chose to do a autumn themed tuff tray as the children have recently shown big interest in the change in temperature when playing in the garden and when we are out walks they interested in why the leaves are all on the floor and why they have changed colour. The children have also enjoyed finding different sized conkers when we are out on walks and bringing them back to nursery to explore them in different ways.The children had so much fun with our autumn themed activities. We based this tray on all of the children’s shared interest and curiosity. This tray provided the children with the opportunity to learn more about the different seasons and how the outside changes.

IMPLEMENT: After playing in this tray, all the children were even more curious about autumn and how it looks different outside in the autumn. The children were also curious about what animals are around in autumn and where they live. The various resources used in this tray enabled the children to a fun learning opportunity! It also showed the children we can learn with touching different things. This tray engaged the children’s physical development, speech language and communication, personal social and emotional, and understanding the world development.

IMPACT: The children enjoyed this autumn tuff tray! They loved showing each other the different autumn things as they found them and talked about what they thought they were! The children loved using the magnifying glasses to look at the spiders and their web and using the sticks to mark make in the soil. We spoke about what happens in autumn and how the leaves fall off of the trees and how it gets colder in autumn and we have to start wearing our coats. They also enjoyed placing the numbered acorns in the autumn coloured bowls and counting the correct amount of conkers in them.


INTENT: This weeks tuff tray was based all around the story The Tiger Who Came To Tea! The idea around the tray was to include all the different aspects of the story to encourage the children to talk about what they remember from the story and for all the children to use concentration and good tool control prepare the food for the tiger! We included lots of different foods to get some of the children talking about healthy eating and explore different textures. Also play dough for other children to use their imaginations to create whatever food they wanted for the tiger. The intent was only for the children to have fun in preparing making different types of food and drink. 

IMPLEMENT: We set up the tray using different brightly coloured ribbons as the base to catch the children’s attention. We then added the story book for the children to read and for the younger ones to look at the pictures. In each section, I added snapshots from the story to correspond with the activity. In one section we added lots of different foods and asked the children what foods we should buy from the shop for the tiger, this encouraged talking about healthy eating. Another section had play-doh for the children to mould into cupcakes a decorate with sprinkles which allowed the children to explore different textures. In a different section, we included real bread and sand which fillings for the children to practice there knife cutting skills and to allow them to choose what goes inside. In the final section, we had a teapot and tea cup set which we included real tea bags for the children to explore the smell and create their own tea! 

IMPACT: Before the children got stuck in to making yummy cakes, sandwiches and tea, they all sat down in a big circle and listened to the the story. They spoke about all the food they could see which then lead them to speaking about when they go shopping with their families and what they buy. Afterwards the children took it in turns to talk about what they were going to explore in the tray and what they were going to make. In the tray making tea and sandwiches were the hit! They took it in turns to add tea bags to the tea pot and then counted numbers until it was ready and then they began pouring. They also took it in turns to add jam and honey to the bread to make sandwiches which they used their one handed skills for. Whilst this was all lots of fun some children took t8me to look through the story as well as looking and recognising the numbers and playing with the Tiger himself.


INTENT: This week we have explored an autumnal literacy tray to promote letter recognition and to strengthen fine motor skills. The aim of this was to encourage the children to recognise different letters and use the sticks to try and write them in the tray.  Through doing this it will enable the children to develop their fine motor skills as they can practice holding the sticks as a writing material. Additionally this activity can become sensory through exploration of the different textures within the tray. The children can use their five senses to explore the sugar and spices which can  further extend their vocabulary.

IMPLEMENT: We have created an autumnal mark making tray by incorporating nature materials such as leaves and sticks. We added different mark making materials such as sugar, mixed spices and chilli flakes to create an autumn colour and to add different textures to the tray. The literacy aspect of the tray was created by providing lots of letters scattered around the tray for the children to find with the magnifying glasses. We will then use the sticks in the tray for the children to use as writing materials for a larger scale.

IMPACT: The children really enjoyed this activity and showed particular interest in making lots of different marks in the tray. The children practiced holding the sticks using different grips such as whole hand, pincer or tripod grip. They were then able to move the sticks to make different marks in the tray. The children also enjoyed doing a letter hunt with the magnetic letters and the magnifying glasses. As we did this we extended it by singing the alphabet song and learning some of the Makaton alphabet signs. We were keen to submerge our hands into the sugar and spice mixture to mix it all together and explore our senses. We talked about what we could smell, feel and what we thought each ingredient was!


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