17 Tuff Tray Construction Ideas That Toddlers Will Love!

Construction role play is one of the most popular activities that toddlers love. It’s great for role play, learning about how construction works and developing fine motor skills too, depending on the activity setup.

There’s more than just diggers and dirt for little ones to get involved in too. If you have digger and construction loving toddlers, here are some tuff tray construction ideas to take inspiration from that they will love!

17 Tuff Tray Construction Ideas That Toddlers Will Love!

1.Spell It Out

Combine education and fun with this spelling game construction play idea. Setup a middle section with some sand and add some small pebbles with a letter of the alphabet on each one.

Position diggers around the outside to help transport the precious cargo and get your little ones to see what words they can spell out with the letters. This is the basis of the tuff tray idea, but you could elevate it in any way you wish.

Instagram image credit: @learn.with.mrs.evans

2. Transporting Materials

Transporting materials around a building site is essential work! Get preschoolers learning about the process by adding some wood chips to a tuff tray, little logs and any other play material you have to hand.

Don’t forget to add the diggers so they can transport the materials around the site, it will keep them occupied for hours!

Instagram image credit: @flowerpotsdaynursery

3. Building A House

Want to build a house? This will be a lot of fun for toddlers. Get those diggers at the ready and create little bundles of materials that they can use to build their own unique constructions.

Add twigs, sand and rocks and see what they come up with!

Instagram image credit: @tuff_tray_inspiration_eyfs

4. Outdoor Construction Zone

If weather permits, get the tuff tray outside and setup an outdoor construction area to teach your little one what being a builder is all about.

Hard hats are definitely required to fit the part, add building blocks, sand, baskets and tools so they can get on with a days labor and hard graft!

Instagram image credit: @eyfsreceptionteacher2022

5. Building A Bridge

Tuff trays are so versatile and great for drawing messages or instructions on, as shown below. Create a car park, roads and add a little challenge for your preschooler.

Get them to build a bridge and put the parts onto the tray that are required, you could even leave them pens and ask them to create roads and a car park, if they’re up for a different challenge!

Instagram image credit: @eyfsreceptionteacher

6. Exploring Different Textures

Sensory play is something that children of all ages love and it’s a great way for them to discover new textures. Construction sites are always home to lots of different materials.

Instead of rubble, use pieces of pasta that they need to move around to clear a path, use sand for a foundation and don’t forget to add some wooden building blocks too.

Instagram image credit: @flowerpotsdaynursery

7. Three Little Pigs Construction

An iconic nursery tale, and one of our favorite construction ideas from this list! This Three Little Pigs play has some fab instructions so they can learn items as they go, then challenge them to create a straw, wooden and brick house.

We wonder which one will stay put once the wolf has had his way with it?!

Instagram image credit: @_playislearning_

8. Create A Skyscraper Building

Little ones love crafting and building with blocks. This skyscraper activity will get them building higher and higher. Add everything they need from building blocks and diggers to crane construction.

Instagram image credit: @playexplorelearn

9. Building Blocks & Measuring

This tuff tray idea is a refreshing alternative to diggers! Teach the basics of building with toy tools, a tape measure, knuts and bolts and of course, the correct high vis outfit to go with it!

Instagram image credit: @fun.play.today

10. Building Site: Construction In Process

Hard hats are part of the fun, and a group of preschoolers will love to play this together.

Get them setup with some initial building blocks and diggers, and have a bunch of building blocks in a basket next to the tuff tray so they can filter through and find the correct pieces they need to complete what they are building.

Instagram image credit: @fdk_learnandplay

11. Build, Scoop, Lift & Dig

Encourage sensory play, and teach toddlers all of the different tasks that might happen on a construction site – digging, lifting, scooping and building.

Set up the relevant compartments and take inspiration from the below tuff tray setup which we love!

Instagram image credit: @the_rural_headteacher

12. Digger Land!

If you have a little one obsessed with diggers, digger land is the tuff tray idea you have to try!

Setting up different sections around a road is such a fun idea. It provides even more play opportunities and they will have so much fun transporting the diggers down the road to the next section.

Instagram image credit: @mummynutrition

13. Clear The Site!

Rice is one of those edible, sensory play things that can be a lot of fun! We love this airport setup with diggers and construction vehicles.

Pretend the rice is snow and let your little one know that they have to clear a path to get the essential vehicles in!

Instagram image credit: @playing_the_day_away

14. Moving Gravel

This practical game will last for hours! You can create a number of different role play games, it also helps to promote fine motor skills.

Initially fill a tuff tray with some small gravel pieces, get some diggers on site and get your little one to transport them to the building site on a bucket or tray next to it.

Instagram image credit: @tryhard_leader_

15. Groundwork

Get those green fingers moving with some outdoor fun! This game is perfect for warmer days if you’re doing a spot of gardening too.

Set them up with some of their own soil, plastic tools, building blocks and diggers. Coconut shells have been used as excellent mounds for diggers here.

Instagram image credit: @our_life_our_play

16. Pretend Snow Play

There’s been a snow day! Fake the look with some cotton snow balls and get your little one to get those diggers into action and moving the snow so people can leave their houses.

A great all year round game, but perfect for winter activities at home!

Instagram image credit: @inspiremyplay

17. Digger Fun

Fill a tuff tray with sand, add a handful of different materials like twigs, little logs, pebbles and corks and get your little one to call in their host of diggers!

No direction is needed here as they will create their own fun role play by using the diggers to move the materials around.

Do you have any other construction related tuff tray ideas? Please let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!

Instagram image credit: @_little.thinkers_
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Bjarni Baby

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