10 Best Tuff Spot Tray Inserts

I don’t know about your children, but mine love imaginative play. I struggled at first to think of how I could incorporate my tuff spot into small world play, other than using it as a convenient surface (and a place to contain the chaos of toys!) 😁 Then I discovered themed tray inserts and I fell in love. The mats are made of vinyl and are very durable and waterproof. Here’s a list of some of my favourites:

  1. Under the sea. I often struggle with how to present all of the fish and other aquatic creatures that my children have collected. With an appropriate background on the tuff spot all I have to do is plonk them on.

  2. Zoo. A beautiful background for all play involving animals.

  3. Building site. This mat is a great scene to encourage play with diggers, you can even add real sand and wooden blocks to encourage building. This is great for children’s physical development, as well as a fun way to introduce them to mathematical language, taller, longer, counting blocks etc.

  4. Numeracy tray mat. This is a fabulous way to bring numbers into everyday play. You can ask your child to count the numbers, to place their toys on a certain number, introduce the concept of number patterns etc. I’m always eager to find ways to introduce numeracy to every day play.

  5. A town mat. This is a great way to contain play with toy cars, which have a habit of rolling everywhere, ours are fond of rolling under the television stand and getting lost!

  6. Trains, planes and automobiles! This mat has space for your child’s cars, buses, helicopters, aeroplanes and trains! It’s a great way of involving all of a child’s transportation toys. And the tray means that they won’t get lost.

  7. Pirates (Pirate Scene and Pirate Island). My daughter is currently going through a bit of a pirate obsession. We seem to be collecting jewels, gold pirate treasure and many telescopes (more than a few of which are re purposed kitchen roll tubes!) These pirate mats are a great place to set up both small world and larger imaginative play items.

  8. Alphabet Centipede. A great way of encouraging literacy and phonics knowledge. You can encourage children to collect a handful of household objects or toys and place them on the correct letter on the mat. You can even see if they can find any of the objects that are mentioned on the mat, such as apple, crown or shoe. You can use wooden or magnetic letters and see if your children are able to match them to either the letters or objects on the mat. It’s also a great back drop for writing exercises, children can use the letters as a visual aid to help them to write their messages.

  9. Snakes and Ladders. This larger than life game is a great way to teach children to count, take turns and is a great simple introduction to board games. This mat can also be used as a number square, with all the benefits of the numeracy mat listed above!

  10. Christmas! This tray is on my wish list and I can’t wait! I adore anything to do with Christmas, and this would be a fantastic way of channelling Xmas enthusiasm throughout the run-up to the big day. Small toy figures could be promoted to help in Santa’s workshop, or the back drop would be a fantastic scene to encourage writing letters to Father Christmas. We have the Happyland Christmas figures and the Playmobile Christmas set which would get a lot of use on this mat! I’m sure that I’d leave it out most of December! This mat would look fantastic with our white tuff spot.

For anyone with a larger budget than our household they also sell bundles of these mats. You can buy them in a pack of 4 or 8. You can save £13 or £37 by buying in bulk. 😮

I love these British wildlife ones! Great for discussing our native animals and geography. And a great place to store collected treasures after a nature walk!