I love tuff trays, especially for small world Imaginative Play. Children can learn an incredible amount about the world we live in through pretend play and by setting up a scene for them in a tuff tray you can really spark their excitement and enthusiam.
However, I’ll admit that recently I’ve become a little disillusioned with creating small world tuff tray environments. Probably because of the time involved finding resources… but if I’m honest it’s mainly because of the (absolutely amazing) tuff trays I’ve seen on Pinterest and Instagram by very talented practioners, that I can’t compete with or recreate!!
That’s why I was absolutely thrilled (and somewhat relieved) to discover that Early Years Resources now do’tuff tray play kits’ for different themes, which contain an array of suitable resources sourced for you. All you have to do it put them on the tray…or even cheat and let the children help!
We tried out their ‘Under the Sea Tuff Tray Play Kit‘ which comes with a Coral Reef Tuff Tray Mat and contains everything from wooden mermaid toys and plastic sea creatures to real pebbles and shells.
What did we like about it?
- Range of Resources– The children loved the variety of different objects to play with. There’s so much to see and touch. They particularly loved the real shells, interesting rocks and pebbles. The set also includes Easy Hold Colour Panels, that children can use to explore the tuff tray in a different colours.
- Encourages Imaginative Play– The phrase ‘invitation to play’ is often linked to tuff tray small worlds and this one really lives up to that phrase. With its variety of colours, textures and resources it’s incredibly inviting for children to want to play with it. And let’s not forget how valuable imaginative play can be for young children, helping them to make sense of this world we live in.
- Inspires Learning About Under the Sea- Not only does it encourage them to play imaginatively but it also inspires children to want to learn about the sea. The children were bursting with questions for example about the shells, what creatures would have lived in them, where they were found, who found them etc etc!
- Sensory Experience– Lastly, we found that the under the sea tuff tray kit created a lovely sensory experience for the children. Obviously for children who might put things in their mouth, it needs supervision and care to avoid this, but apart from that children can really immerse themselves in touching, feeling, looking at the various different resources. The children also found the sounds of the pebbles and shells against one another really interesting and enjoyed trying to listen to hear the sea in the larger shells! They also loved exploring the different shapes of the shells.
Watch our YouTube video of this resource here.
*Please note we were sent a kit for review, but thoughts and opinions are completely our own.