The benefits of Tuff Trays and why we love them at The Treehouse Club

Here at The Treehouse Club we love implementing our learning through discovery ethos with a sensory-packed Tuff Tray activity! If you too are looking to add this child-led activity to your adventures at home, then this is just the blog for you.

When Is My Child Ready For Tuff Tray Play?

Typically, the best time to begin your Tuff Tray activities are when your child is around two years old. This is the perfect stage of development whereby they can use their gross and fine motor skills well enough to see, touch and engage with their Tuff Tray investigations. At this age children are also able to more effectively listen, learn and adapt which means they will get the most out of collaborative Tuff Tray play. It is also worth noting that between the age of around two and through to primary school age, imaginations really begin to soar. Imagination is very important when it comes to Tuff Trays!

What Are The Benefits Of Tuff Tray Play?

  • Teamwork and collaborative play are important for group work and classroom or preschool settings, and Tuff Tray play encourages excellent sharing and social skills.
  • Both listening and language skills are boosted thanks to the need not just to listen to instructions, but in children using their language skills to explain what they are doing and how they are doing it to their friends, teachers and parents.
  • Creative expression is definitely a huge part of Tuff Tray play and all that sensory, tactile fun will really fire up imaginations and creativity.
  • Spontaneity is another skill learned via Tuff Tray play as with this activity anything goes!
  • Tuff Tray play also provides endless opportunities for learning through play activities. No matter what kind of themes you use in your trays, there’s aways scope for teaching children words and facts relating to what they’re doing. Whether you create a land of dinosaurs or an ocean, a building site or a forest, children will pick up lots of knowledge and language skills along the way.

Our Favourite Ideas For Tuff Tray Play Set-ups

With the benefit of having the forest literally on our doorstep, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to natural materials we use for this child-led learning opportunity, including:

  • Mud – Sometimes slimy, sometimes dry, always fun!
  • Leaves – Sometimes crispy, sometimes soft, natural and enriching.
  • Twigs – Not sticky, but definitely textured and unique every time.
  • Sand – Firm when pressed quickly, soft and yielding when gently pressed.
  • Water – Cool and wet to the touch, it glides fast and hugs your fingers.
  • Hay – Coarse yet flexible. Wonderful smells of autumn!

We also love incorporating sensory materials such as:

  • Foam – Feel for it and it’s almost not there!
  • Bubbles – Always fun, requires the gentlest touch not to burst.
  • Pasta – Crunchy and rough, but quickly softened by water
  • Rice – Similar to sand but more easier to manage.
  • Paint – Gloopy, colourful, messy, the best!

Give Your Child The Gift Of Outdoor Inspired Play

Get In Touch Today

Keen to know more about how our nursery and pre-school schedules include learning through discovery, STEM-focused activities daily? With our EYFS curriculum and hands-on approach to teaching children to be engaged, keen, curious, life-long learners we would love to invite you to come and see for yourselves how successful our programmes are.

We have settings dotted around the Essex countryside in Billericay, Wickford, Brentwood and Ingrave and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have about The Treehouse Club.

Get in touch today with our Admissions Team to find out more and to arrange to come and visit us!


Contact Information

Discover Our Settings

Norsey Woods Education Room
Outwood Common Road
Billericay, Essex CM11 1HA
01277 656 921

Dollymans Farm
Doublegate Ln, Rawreth
Wickford SS11 8UD
01268 956 005


Thriftwood Scout Centre, Orchard Ave
Brentwood, Essex CM13 2DP
01277 402 016


Ingrave Preschool,
St Nicholas Church Hall, School Lane
Ingrave Brentwood CM13 3RB
01277 297 024


Langham Hall Preschool,
Langham Cres,
Billericay CM12 9RD
01277 297 899


adventure@thetreehouseclub.co.uk
Booking No: 01277 402 018



We are back to our normal opening hours from 7am – 7pm for all Settings (apart from our Ingrave Setting where the opening hours will be the normal times of 7am – 4pm, as this a Pre-School Setting only).

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