This week has been the battle of the mermaid inspired tuff trays as well as a doctor themed tuff tray. Winklebury’s tuff tray was based around Doctors, the children were all able to be in the role of a doctor as they explored how to operate on play dough people. Highdown created a mermaid tuff tray, exploring the fish and habitat of where a mermaid may live. And Worthing, created a Disney themed tuff tray based around My little mermaid. But who will be this weeks winners?


INTENT: This week one of the National Days we’re celebrating is Doctor Day! The children love to pretend play as doctors and dress up as doctors using our doctor gowns from Roleplay, so this was an excellent day for many Doctor themed activities for everyone to join in with! In the tray, we had 3 play dough people and various doctor resources, such as string for bandages, plasters, tweezers, a first aid bag and an ambulance!

IMPLEMENT: As the children love being doctors, they were engaged with the different tools available to them to play. As they played in the tray and used the tools on the play dough people, the children communicated to each other about how they were all doctors with their tools. They used the plasters to cover up “ouchies”, and wrapped arms and legs in bandages. The children could easily see what was available to them, and took turns with the tweezers or string. This tray was good for all ages, as the tools were simple to use and easily accessible.

IMPACT: This tray was a huge success. The children really enjoyed getting to expand their imaginative doctor play with tools! The older children used caring language towards the play dough people, asking what was wrong and then using their imagination to find the problem. They used language to further extend their role-play. The toddlers loved practicing and using their fine motor skills with the tweezers, picking up some of the plasters or using them to search the people. This promoted caring behaviour and the use of fine motor skills for the toddlers. All of the children felt a sense of achievement in themselves after finding the problem that each play dough person had and helped them!


INTENT: I decided to do a mermaid themed tuff tray as it was National Mermaids day. I wanted the children to be aware of what creatures lived and Swam under the waters as some may be interested in under the sea, I also wanted the children to identify the different colours of animals and the surroundings of the mermaid. I had the idea of having the children feel the different materials in the tray and being able to tell me what they felt like i.e soft,hard,fluffy and slimy. I also had numbered fish so the children could put their numbers to the test and counting skills to count all the creatures in the tray.

IMPLEMENT: In order to create the mermaid themed tray I had to make a mermaid for the centre of attention I did this by involving the children to help me make red play dough for the mermaids tail and some starfish. I had then painted the tuff tray blue with a paintbrush by making a squiggly design to create the effect of moving water, I used sand for a quarter of the tuff tray at the bottom to make it look like the bottom of the ocean. I had then cut up some potatoes and placed one underneath the mermaids tail to create a more 3D effect and placed some potatoes on the sand and placed a starfish on the side of the potato. I dyed some rice yellow to create the upper half of the mermaids body and placed some sequins for her eyes, I then squirted shaving foam for her hair to create a washed and wavy look. I then scattered some sequins on the sand to create a ‘washed up’ look and scattered glitter on the mermaids tail and hair for a beauty effect. I had then printed off sea creatures and numbered fish to cut out and put around the tray for the tray to really look like it has come to life.

IMPACT: The children got involved in the tuff tray by pointing at the different sea creatures that were spread out and they had taken guesses to try and name them, they had also tried to say what numbers were on the fishes and named different colours that they had seen in the tray. The children had moved the sea creatures around as if they were swimming, they had also buried the fishes under the sand and tried to dig them back out. The children had been engaging with the questions that were on the tray they had stated the textures that they could feel from the shaving foam, sand and rice, they took the tail off the mermaid and was rolling it around in paint that they had poured into the tray. Overall the children were really interacting in the tray and encouraged to have a go at the questions.


INTENT: For this weeks tuff tray activity the Pre schoolers have made their own dancing rice Little mermaid style. I used a familiar story which the children would be drawn in by and it also gave them a  purpose to the experiment. It made it even more magical for the children and made it more exciting to see the characters from the story so the child were able to have some sensory play too.

IMPLEMENT: For this tuff tray I used rice and blue food colouring to represent the sea I also used sand and sea shells for the base of the tray I printed out the main characters from the story and placed them around the tray. The ingredients I used for the experiment were rice, white vinegar, water and bicarbonate soda which were placed across the tray in little plastic cups. I also included spoons for the children to use to scoop the ingredients and a big bottle so they could watch the experiment clearly. 

IMPACT: The Pre schoolers came over to the tray and knew by the book cover and the characters in the tray what the tray was based around. One child said this is my favourite book ! Another child said I love Ariel and mermaids. One by one the children took it in turns to add the ingredients. The children patiently waited for their turn and decided between themselves who was going to add what ingredient. The children really enjoyed this tuff tray and watching the experiment take place. When the rice started to dance in the bottle the children’s faces lit up and they all wanted to add the ingredients again to see the reaction again!


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