Tuff Tray Challenge

Another week of fabulous tuff trays, it’s getting harder and harder to choose each week! We have been busy voting for our favourite one, who will be this weeks winners? Winklebury created…… Highdown went over the rainbow with their St. Patty’s day inspired tuff tray and Worthing planted a seed! A week of fabulous invitations to play.


INTENT:the intent behind the tuff tray all started with the children, they all began to paint the tuff tray green with gave me the idea for st Patrick’s day.
With this in mind i wanted the children to get a idea of what st Patrick’s day is about in a fun and exciting way. I wanted all children to take part because the tray had so many advantages whether it was to do with learning new words or gaining confidence to interact with a larger group of children.

IMPLEMENT:The tray was full of exciting and bright colours as well as different textures.
The base was green from what the children had painted. I then added oats as a pathway for the rainbow which was different coloured rice. There was shaving foam for the clouds and at the end the rainbow was a pot of golden coins which was being kept by the leprechaun.
On the pathway there were clovers containing 3 and 4 petals to encourage counting skills. Around the tray had questions to extend there learning by talking about what sT Patrick’s day is, what wish they would make at the end of the rainbow, and what different textures they can feel.

IMPACT:The children watched as the tuff tray was being transformed. The children were very excited by the rainbow and straight away identified the colours they could see, with this they  spoke about the textures they could feel from the rice and the shaving foam cloud. The preschoolers were able to talk about wHat they could see and some wishes that they would like to make as well as counting the petals on the clovers.  As this was happening the younger children were mixing the tray ingredients together which involved All colours going togther and team work made the rainbow disappear. The coins were then hidden underneath which we then had to go and find.


INTENT:This week the children have shown a huge interest in our loose parts area. So we made up a tray based on natural materials.

We wanted to make sure it had lots materials for all ages to fully explore and enjoy.

We also set out to make sure that it was a tray suitable for all age groups and when moving to babies we took it off the stand and placed it down on to the floor for them to assess. 

IMPLEMENT:As this has been a huge interest we discussed what was going in to the tray and wanted so many different materials for all the children to enjoy and explore.

We put each natural material in the tray individually so that the children could full see and explore without it all combined together.

In our tray we had sand, soil, stones, sticks, wood, corks, fur cones, leafs and feathers. We labelled each material as well to help the children see that each material was different.

IMPACT:This tray was a huge success. The children watched us create the tray and once it was ready to explore we took it in turns so that the tray was well explored instead of just being left to it.

A grown up sat with the children and communicated with them throughout the play. We spoke about all the materials where we find each materials, what they fell like and so much more.

Once the older children had explored we moved it to the babies to have a look. We reset up the tray placed it on the floor and and let them happily explore. We used language with them and some of the older babies enjoyed handing us what they had found.


INTENT: For this weeks tuff tray activity the babies have been planting some seeds to celebrate the start of spring. From this activity I would like the babies to learn the names of the different materials in the tray and to talk about what we are growing. I would also like the babies to use their fine and gross motor skills to take part and plant their own seeds. 

IMPLEMENT:In order to achieve this, in the tray I have provided the different materials such as, water, sunflower seeds, tissues and clear plastic cups. Also in the tray we had a seeds and sunflower book that had a lot of information about different seeds and the plant. I also provided different opportunities for the babies to use their fine and gross motor skills, such as using their fingers to put tissue in the cup and to pick up seeds and place it in the cup. There was also a jug full of water for the babies to pour into their cup. 

IMPACT:The babies came over to the tray intrigued as to what was in the tray and what they were going to be doing. The babies came and sat round the tray and we started to look at the book and talk about what we could see. I talked about the sunflowers and told them that is what we were going to be planting. One by one the babies took it in turns, placing the tissue in the cup and picking the seed from the bowl and into the cup. With some help the babies poured some water into the cup. While doing this process we also said the names of each materials/object which some of them repeated. The babies really enjoyed doing the activity and some were sat there for a long period of time waiting for their turn.


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