At first glance, a plain Tuff Tray doesn't look like much. So why has it become a must-have resource in educational and early years settings across the UK and worldwide?

It's simple really; versatility. Whether you're exploring an EYFS theme and want to extend learning further through imaginative play, or you need a contained area to indulge in some messy play; the Tuff Tray is a cost-effective, flexible resource that has become essential in the classroom and even in homes.

Read on to find out more about the Tuff Tray; the basics, what you can do with it, and inspiration for fun activities!



  • Optimal size and shape which allows children to effectively explore, engage and encourage group play.
  • 8 raised sides to contain a variety of materials including natural resources, paint, sand, and even water.
  • Made from heavy duty plastic for durability.
  • Can be placed on a floor for toddler exploration or on Height Adjustable Legs for different age groups or classroom displays.
  • Easy to clean, easy to store and easy to assemble.
  • The standard Tuff Tray has a diameter of 91 x 91cm and the Mini Tuff Tray has a diameter of 70 x 70cm.
art and craft



  • Art and Craft activities help children to tap into their creativity and express themselves without fear. It doesn't matter if you paint outside the lines; it's art!
  • It's also fantastic for mark making; helping children to develop the necessary literacy skills needed to progress through education.
  • The Tuff Tray is sturdy enough for children to press down on to create prints, paintings, drawings and more.
  • Easily washable, making the trays ideal for children to get creative and make mess without worry.
  • Big enough for groups, and the adjustable height stand can be altered to suit all ages, making it an extremely versatile resource for creative activities.
  • Can also be used as a classroom display tool after all the art, crafts, messy fun has finished!



  •  Tuff Trays make the perfect platform for investigation. After all, it's all about learning through play!
  • Helps children get to grips with basic principles of numeracy and science.
  • For example; the On the Move Tuff Tray Kit  features magnets, counters, magnetic vehicles, and a road map with numbers. Incorporating questions into play such as "Can you move the train around the track with the magnet?" or "Can you count how many counters are on the road?" engages children in learning, helping them get to grips with tricky concepts.
  • The broad tray space provides lots of room for children to explore and try out new ideas, and is the perfect height too! 
  • Useful for early investigation and discovery whilst also developing fine motor skills and inspiring creative play.
  • Tuff Trays are also the ideal space for counting, sorting and estimating activities.



  • It's not just a numbers game! Tuff Trays are great for extending learning and exploring an EYFS topic or theme even further.
  • For example; resources such as Storytime Sets designed to support our range of Tuff Tray Kits draw children further into a theme, and include two books (one fiction and one non-fiction) to also help improve literacy skills.
  • Children are very practical learners, and sometimes a book is just not enough! Allowing children to physically explore a story with the help of a Tuff Tray helps to engage them, allowing them to act out what they are reading and learning. 
  • The design of the Tuff Tray with its raised edges allows for the inclusion of small elements such as natural resources and character figures, without fear of them getting everywhere!




  • The Five Senses (touch, taste, sight, sound, smell) are what children often rely on when learning, especially when they're young. Tuff Trays provide a space where they can explore and investigate using their senses.
  • A lot of sensory play resources can be small or hard to keep track of. The raised edge of the tuff tray allows children to play with loose parts without you having to worry about them escaping the tray! Nobody wants to look for bits of sensory play materials around the classroom...
  • Different tuff tray mats can also add to sensory exploration. Our own range includes felt, PVC, mirror and clear acrylic.
physical development tuff tray



  • We all know that Physical Activity has numerous health and wellbeing benefits for children, so of course our most versatile early years resource caters to it!
  • Tuff Trays are made from durable heavy duty plastic, which means they can be used outdoors as well as indoors.
  • Use the adjustable legs of the tuff tray to create a slope, using the lowest and highest levels.
  • Creates the perfect target for throwing practice!
  • Helps to develop children's hand-eye coordination, not to mention their social interactions.
  • You can also incoroprate numeracy into your physical activity games; counting, sorting, adding, subtracting etc. 
tuff tray inspiration
tuff tray outdoors
messy play tuff tray
superhero imaginative play tuff tray
pirates imaginative play tuff tray
messy play tuff tray sand
fairy tale imaginative play tuff tray
outdoor natural resources tuff tray
rainbow blocks mirror tuff tray
sensory mirror tuff tray
outdoor polar tuff tray