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Sensory Play

Tuff spots, also known as builder’s trays, are a perfect way to provide a range of sensory and exciting play opportunities for young children. They are popular and ideal for use in Early Years settings, crèches, playgroups and primary schools. Tuff spots can also be purchased with different height stands making them accessible to children of all ages. They are easy to set up and are hardwearing and durable making them perfect for messy play and sensory play ideas.

Tuff spots also provide the opportunity for a group of children to engage together in shared play developing communication and language through shared thinking and ideas. Tuff spots which focus on small world play support children’s confidence in constructing their own stories using available props.

There are so many ways to use a Tuff Spot. Here are a few tried (and tested!) Tuff Spot ideas.

  1. Construction site – sand, gravel, small boulders, small world figures, construction vehicles.


  1. Desert Islands- sand, green glitter, miniature logs, tree trunks, small world figures, boats, palm trees.





  1. ‘Down in the Jungle’ – play sand, green split lentils, bark chippings, small world figures and jungle animals




  1. Making Fossils –Clay, dinosaurs, two tone gravel



  1. Magnetic Word Building – magnetic letters, various word cards, magnets.



  1. Water beads- selection of coloured water beads and water, add clear numbered plastic pots to develop counting skills and number recognition.




  1. ‘Clean Mud’ – grated soap, shredded tissue paper, raspberry bubble bath, pink food coloring, and water. Mix together and leave to set over night. Children will adore the smell and texture of this clean mud. Add some confetti hearts and shapes for a Valentine’s day theme. Provide spatulas and scoops to develop hand eye coordination and exploration of the textures.



  1. Capacity and Number – green lentils, variety of measuring scoops and number pots.



  1. Textures – pebbles, pasta, fabrics, ribbons, pipe cleaner, pine cones, shells, sequins, bubble wrap, netting, foil, cotton wool and felt. This activity will develop much language around different textures and allow children to explore the feel of different objects.





  1. ‘Let it Snow!’ Artificial snow, silver glitter, sequin snowflakes, miniature decorative presents, train set and tunnel


  1. Numbered Baubles- selection of baubles, number with a permanent marker, ribbon, silver glitter. Ideal for developing addition, subtraction, sequencing, counting and fine motor control through threading the baubles onto the ribbon.



  1. Mark Making – play sand, glitter, paintbrushes, number and letter lines to support letter and number formation. Ideal to develop early mark making through a fun and exciting medium.




  1. ‘Under the Sea’ – netting, blue voile fabric, green ribbons, shells, small world sea creatures, green glitter.





  1. ‘Beach Combing’ – play sand, variety of shells, identification cards, silver glitter.




  1. ‘Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken’ - Hay, Easter eggs, miniature chicks




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