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Summer is upon us, you’ve been looking at swings and slides already I’m sure! The shops have got all the see-saws and sand pits at the ready but I would love to recommend something a bit different!

It looks like this ..

builders tray

it’s a builders tray, a cement tray, a tuff spot, whatever you like to call it, it costs about £20 and your children WILL love it! (links to buy at the bottom of this post).

If your little one is at a childminders or a nursery the chances are you will have already seen one of these, but theres no reason why they should be confined to childcare setting, anything they can do you can do right?!

These large plastic trays are a world of imagination in one place. You can use them for any theme you like. If your little one has an interest you can extend it by taking the fun to the builders tray. Tractors to fairies to messy play you name it, you can do it. Smaller children will love sitting in the tray and immersing themselves in their new world while older children will sit on the sides and play moving around the edge.


Here are some children at our Summer party last year enjoying playing in coloured pasta and threading the dry pasta on to pieces of string.




Last summer we filled our builders tray with soil and made it into a digger land! The children used spades and rakes to fill the tray up themselves and added diggers, dumper trucks and other construction toys. Endless fun which can evolve every day and when you’re finished just tip the soil back into a pot for another day or for planting.

Builders tray digger landBuilders tray diggerland

This week I found a huge roll of artificial grass in Lidl for just £4.99 so we decided to make a farm! I laid the grass over the tray and marked in chalk and then cut around the lines drawn. This huge roll was big enough for two trays but i think i’ll use the other bit for another project 😉

DIY Builder's tray farm IMG_4400 IMG_4401


We have loads of random ‘farm’ bits from fencing to tractors I just popped them all in a box and let the children choose where they wanted them to be. It’s more fun when they’ve helped make the ‘world’.

If you’re anything like me you’re already coming up with loads of ideas in your head of things that your little ones would love! The possibilities are really endless

Here are some of the things you can do and some of my favourite builder’s tray ideas. 

(pics below are not mine)

  • Food Play – e.g. pasta, spaghetti, cornflakes etc
  • Role Play – Small world, Happy Land, Cars, Trains, Fairies
  • Sensory Play – Shaving foam, chalk, water, water pebbles, cornflour, play dough
  • Mark Making – Paint, Chalk, Water and paintbrushes

tuff tray seasidetuff tray pastatuff tray dinosaurstuff tray fairy garden

If you’re a lover of pinterest you can also check out our board here which is packed full of fun early years ideas and a whole board dedicated to builders trays!

If you decide to give this a go we would LOVE to see your ideas and the exciting things you have done. Please do email us your pictures here and we will show them all on our blog!

We have searched the internet for the cheapest builder’s trays/tuff trays and we found this one on amazon the cheapest, we also found our favourite water beads on offer too, great for sensory play


Jen, a mummy in our facebook group, Mum Knows Best Warwickshire also found this bargain for £3.50 in Wilkos! Perfect for those looking for an indoor or smaller alternative! This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing Jen!










We have also had these photos sent to us from our lovely Mummies! Here are Jade’s boys enjoying playing in the sand, we love the stand too! Melissa’s gorgeous little man immersed in digger play 🙂

tuff tray ideastuff tray ideas

We put together a sort of wish-list on the player below, all from Amazon  🙂

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