Welcome to this weeks Tuff Tray Challenge. We have been exploring the world around us this week, as well as a make-believe world made of chocolate! There has also been a farm sensory tray and also a beach clean up tuff tray. But who will be this weeks winners??


INTENT: The tray was created for our national Jelly Fish Day. The aim was to explore different sensory materials whilst learning how we can look after Jelly fish that live in the sea. Whilst bringing in areas of learning we have involved:-

  • maths – by counting how many bottles and carrier bags were in the sea.
  • physical development – by focusing on our fine motor skills and hand and eye coordination by using the different size tweezer and pulling the empty bottles and carrier bags out of the sea. And gross motor skills by getting the animals to jump in and out of the water using large circle movements.
  • Communication and language – by talking about what should and shouldn’t be in the sea. And reading the facts about different sea animals.

IMPLEMENT: The tray was filled with with sand, water and royal blue paint with a range of different animals that live in the sea. We cut some pictures of carrier bags and bottles and placed this in the royal blue paint water and sand. We also found facts about different animals who live in the sea.

IMPACT: Once the tuff tray was completed, the children come over to explore the tray! Some of the children were more interested in playing with the blue paint water. They used their hands to feel the different texture and would then put their hands in the sand afterwards. The older children were able to use the tweezers all by themselves and able to pick up the pictures of carrier bags and bottles. We spoke about why we need to collect all the bottle and bags from the beach and how it could harm the animals that live in the sea if they got into the sea. The older children were also able to tell the grown up what animals may live in the sea, what they eat and where they lived. The grown up also went through the fun fact sheets and explained in more detail about the animals that live in the sea. The younger children were able to use their imagination skills by pretending the animals that live in the sea where swimming in and out of the water by using large circle movements.


INTENT: For national Chocolate day, our tuff tray was based all around Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! The children enjoy getting messy, being creative, and of course, Chocolate! We wanted to include all these aspects in the tray. We wanted the children to use their imagine to create yummy lollipops sing paper, pencils or  make delicious cakes using real ingredients including chocolate, sweets, icing sugar and flour. We also allowed to children to vote on the best yummy treat to win a golden ticket from Willy Wonka. In this tray was also a variety of different textures for the children to explore and discuss.

IMPLEMENT: In this tray I included different coloured paper to allow them a choice and also scissors, pencils and pens. I added pictures of the lollipops from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the children to use as an example and extend their imagination. In the other half of the tray, I added a big bowl filled with lots of different chocolate and treats, along with many cup cake cases to encourage the children to make yummy cupcakes. This also allowed the to children to talk about the different textures of the foods and also their smell. I added characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to allow the children who had seen the film to talk about what happens.

IMPACT: The children were very excited to explore the chocolate filled tray to get messy and be creative. Some children put their arts and crafts skills to text by making yummy lollipops using paper, scissors and pencils. The children used the images of the lollipops by placing them on their paper and using the pencils to draw around it. The then carefully used scissors to cup around their lollipop whilst talking about scissor safety. They then decorated their lollipops and showed them off to the adults and their friends. Other children were interested in getting messy and making delicious cupcakes! They used the chocolate by squeezing and rolling it in their hands, feeling what it felt like when it melted! The children used their hands to sprinkle the different ingredients into the cupcakes and mix it all together. Some children even dipped their finger into the melted chocolate and had a taste. They all good the adult ‘It’s yummy!’


INTENT: We created an amazing, fun and inviting farm vegetable allotment plot. Where we wanted the children to learn about lots of different types of vegetables, how to grow them, how to look after them, and how to pick them ready for us to eat. Yummy!!! We want the children to talk about the different vegetables they eat at home with their families. We want to teach the children the positive effects of eating our healthy vegetables. We will be looking at the different animals who live on the farm and what they might eat for diner which may be different to us humans. 

IMPLEMENT: I layered the tuff tray with lots of different resources to make the effect of an allotment and farm yard. I first sprinkled flour on the base and then sprinkled chocolate powder on top to make the mud effect. I crushed lots of weetabix up and made a gravel effect path through the middle where I placed an assortment of farm yard animals for the children to explore. I separated the weetabix and flour using stones to make a wall and placed lots of bright colourful vegetables in a line as you would see them in a real field where they grow. There was broccoli, carrots, kale and potatoes. 

IMPACT: The children came in to the room with lots of excitement and smiles when they saw the tray and could not wait to get there hands involved in exploring the different resources on the tray. There was lots of talking about what they eat at home with there families. Eg: “I like carrots, they are yummy” The children loved picking up the real vegetables to feel the different textures and smells. They all had a look and correctly named all the animals they found on the gravel path. We then all started singing “old McDonald”. Through out this activity there was a wide range of conversation and the children enjoyed exploring using thier different senses.

THIS WEEKS WINNERS ARE… HIGHDOWN! Well done to Shannon for her Chocolate themed tuff tray.

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