Why a Tuff Tray encourages great play!

Tuff Tray Play

I love using a tuff tray for playtime, & recently bought a great playmat for ours from Tiger Moon. I shared a photo of our play with them & Jacqui from Tiger Moon has kindly written a little bit about tuff trays & how they encourage play.

If you’ve never heard of a Tiger Tuff Tray (or Tuff Spot), then here’s a simple guide. The Tuff Tray is a rugged octagonal black tray with raised sides. It’s just under a metre in size and is incredibly handy for arranging and presenting play ideas for children. You might spot them in preschools, nurseries and primary schools. The Tiger Tuff Tray lends itself to all sorts of play, especially messy play. It can be customised with chalk pens or filled with all kinds of toys and tactile materials to interest your child, such as:

  • Small character toys and vehicles
  • Building blocks or Duplo/Lego
  • Ice – small toys can be frozen into water and rescued!
  • Autumn Leaves, pebbles and sticks
  • Water, sand and compost
  • Flour, pasta, dried beans or rice (which can be dyed with food
  • colouring)
  • Paint and craft materials

With a little preparation, themes and stories such as the Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Gruffalo can be imaginatively recreated. The great thing is that any activity is contained and so encourages focus on one mode of play at a time. Gross motor skills are honed as vehicles are moved around tracks. Inclusion of tiny objects (under supervision if your child is likely to put items in their mouths) encourages the development of fine motor skills, the mastery of which eventually leads to good writing and drawing skills.

The trays are big enough for group play but are increasingly being bought for home play, outside in the garden when the weather is good (or to get some fresh air if you’re well wrapped up) or inside when it’s cold – so traditionally outdoor activities can still be enjoyed, expanding the play possibilities when you’re stuck indoors.

We have a wide range of custom designed Tuff Tray Mats that fit in these trays to add to play – or for days when you’d rather not have a tray full of water or sand to tidy away. Our most popular is the dinosaur themed Lost World playmat. There are mats that bring the outdoors in or encourage play in a fantasy world. Take a look at Tiger Moon’s full range: https://www.tigermoon.co.uk/collections/tuff-tray-mats and enjoy your Tuff Tray Play!

I love to see what you get up to at home, if you enjoy It’s Playtime Tots activities please feel free to join my supportive community on Facebook & share your photo’s & ideas with other mummies.

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