If you’ve never heard of a Tuff Tray (or Tuff Spot), then here’s what it is. It’s an octagonal black rugged tray with raised sides, just under a metre in size, that’s incredibly handy for arranging and presenting play in preschool, nurseries and primary schools. As the tray can be easily wiped down it lends itself to all sorts of play – especially messy play. It can be used as it comes, customised with chalk pens (more of that later) or filled with kinds of toys and tactile materials such as:
Small character toys – peg people, small dolls, superheroes
Vehicles – cars, trucks, trains
Ice – small toys can be frozen into water and rescued!
Rice (which can be coloured)
I’m sure there’s much more to add to the list and this is before we start to think about themes and stories to recreate. The great thing is that the activity is contained and encourages focus on one thing for a time. Use 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. Gross motor skills are honed as vehicles are moved around tracks.
At the end of play, the toys can be put away and the tray cleaned down, which is particularly useful if you need to sterilise equipment at present. The trays are big enough for group play but are increasingly being bought for home play. They can be taken outside when the weather is good (or to get some fresh air if you’re well wrapped up) or used 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 huge 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 Lost World playmat, but there are mats that bring the outdoors in, or encourage play in a fantasy world.
Take a look at Tiger Moon's full range.