Is it Worth Getting a Tuff Tray? : A Mom’s Honest Tuff Tray Review

The first introduction I had to the Tuff Tray was seeing it in use at my son’s nursery. Watching the kids flock around this cool, little, sensory table with these handy, thick edges made me stop, as you have now, to consider, ‘Is it worth getting a Tuff Tray?’ So here it is, my Honest Tried-and-Tested Review of the Tuff Tray, from a Mom’s perspective.

At the nursery, the Tuff Tray was covered in playdoh and cupcake cases, rolling pins, and cutlery. The kids were busy ‘baking’. I remember thinking, ‘This is great. The edges of this table really seem to control the mess.’

This was a huge benefit for me, as my kid’s used to play with playdoh at the kitchen table and it seemed to end up everywhere! It would be on their clothes, chairs, the floor, and then, inevitably, trodden into the carpets all round the house.

This Tuff Tray looked like the perfect solution. Of course, I was later to discover far more benefits to the Tuff Tray than just containing the mess of playdoh!

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We live in Scotland, so I bought this Tuff Tray from Amazon UK.

I have searched and searched, and cannot find any Tuff Trays available outside of the UK. However This Tray from Amazon would work well for all my Tuff Tray ideas. It’s strong, waterproof, easy to clean and store, and has those handy edges that you want for messy play.

A Tuff Tray in the Garden on a Summers Day, with two kids playing with a Potion Station on it.
My kids enjoying a Potion Station on their Tuff Tray in the garden this Summer.

Mom’s Honest Tuff Tray and Stand Review

So, this is my Honest Review of this Tuff Tray from Amazon, from a Mom’s Perspective, because let’s face it, we Mom’s have slightly different concerns when it comes to mess than perhaps Preschool teachers might in an easy to wipe down classroom!

I’ve included loads of photos that I have taken of my kids using the tuff tray, so you can see how versatile it is, and get an idea of size. Our Tuff Tray has been properly tried-and-tested!

It adjusts to 3 different heights, so my 4 and 7 year old enjoy playing at it just as much as the toddlers I childmind.

It’s very sturdy and doesn’t tip over when leaned on. It’s quick and easy to dismantle, for easy storage, and fast to clean.

I was delighted with it from the start, and immediately started sharing my discovery with all my ‘Mom’ friends.

As we got used to our Tuff Tray, I began to realise that there are so many more benefits to it than just containing playdoh! And there are so many different sensory activities that you can do with a Tuff Tray.

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10 Benefits of Getting a Sensory Tuff Tray.

What is a Tuff Tray?

If you’re wondering, ‘what exactly is a Tuff Tray?’, let me fill you in.

A Tuff Tray is basically just an awesome table for kids’ activities. It has thick edges round the sides to stop anything falling off the edge of that table, This makes it perfect for sensory play!

You can adjust the height of the table as your kid grows, or take it off the stand and just use the tray on the floor, allowing little kids to sit amongst their play.

It’s easy to clean and can be dismantled for easy tidy up.

They’re very popular at nurseries, childminders, and childcare facilities already. Now they’re gaining popularity amongst parents, as they begin to see how valuable and affordable they are.

An image of a necklace making station set up on a tuff tray, with beads and coloured elastic demonstrating one of the reasons I think its worth getting a tuff tray.
A Tuff Tray is so worth getting when you have little kids, especially for containing the mess when they make jewlery and play with little beads!

What is the Point of a Tuff Tray?

A Tuff Tray is great for containing mess with activities like painting, lego, beads, and other sensory activities, whilst also allowing children to easily reach the activity and explore it from all angles with their peers or alone.

I love using it to set up little invitations to play and small world play areas. Activities like these Messy Farm Play Ideas, Potion Stations, and Fine Motor Skills Activities are super popular with Toddlers and Preschoolers.

What is a Tuff Tray used for?

There are so many activities that a Tuff Tray can be used for.

It’s great for sensory play, educational activities, painting, baking, lego, playdoh, beads, and mini-science experiments.

I also like to use mine for nature play and to explore the seasons.

If you’d like to see more seasonal Tuff Tray Ideas, take a look at my Summer Tuff Tray Ideas, Autumn Tuff Tray Ideas, and Christmas Tuff Tray Ideas.

A tuff tray set up with an Autumn farming sensory play activity for toddlers and preschoolers. Visually showing the answer to the question posed. Is it worth getting a tuff tray? What is the point?
This Autumn Farming Tuff Tray set up was popular with my Toddlers and Preschoolers.

The Top 10 Activities I use my Tuff Tray for

  1. Playdoh
  2. Painting
  3. Water Play Pouring Station
  4. Ice Play (Save the animals stuck in the ice!)
  5. Snow play (We take some inside when they’re too cold to stay out, but want to keep playing! In Summer we use this artificial snow from Amazon.)
  6. Nature Play and Exploration (We gather leaves, twigs, pine cones, flowers, etc, and play with them on our Tuff Tray with animal figures.)
  7. Edible Mud Farm yard play
  8. Jewelry making station
  9. Cereal Sensory Play
  10. Kinetic Sand (We love this Kinetic Sand from Amazon.)

An image of a Tuff Tray set up with Kinetic sand and knife, bowl, spoon and rolling pin, for an easy toddler sensory activity.
Kinetic Sand is such fun and a perfect activity for the Tuff Tray.

What age is a Tuff Tray for?

I have personally used my Tuff Tray with kids as young as 12 months, and my son who is 7 years old uses it loads too.

A Tuff Tray suits a wide range of ages as it can be used just as a tray on the floor, or with a stand, and if you get the Tuff Tray we have from Amazon, the stand adjusts to 3 different heights, making it really flexible.

Can You Use a Tuff Tray Outdoor?

Yes, Tuff Tray’s are built to be used inside or outside.

I love using our Tuff Tray outside in the garden, especially in the summer months!

Can You Put Water in a Tuff Tray?

Yes! Definitely!

Tuff Tray’s are great for water play activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

If you’d like some ideas of different water play activities that you can do in your Tuff Tray check out, Water Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers : Fun, Easy and Low-Prep.

A Tuff Tray being used by a toddler in the garden for a summer activity.
Our Tuff Tray being used for some fun Summer Activities by my daughter.

What are the Benefits of a Sensory Tuff Tray?

  • It reduces the mess, as the edges stop things from falling off.
  • Our kids can remain active whilst they play instead of having to sit at a table
  • It allows them to view their play from different angles and perspectives.
  • The Tuff Tray is easy to clean.
  • It doesn’t take up too much space and can be dismantled for easy storage.
  • The adjustable height means the Tuff Tray can be used by babies right up to school-aged kids.
  • It is durable and can be used outside too.
  • The Tuff Tray is very reasonably priced, making it affordable for most budgets.
  • It is safe for all ages as it’s sturdy and there are no sharp corners. (Adult supervision is still required for young kids.)
  • The tray can be used without the stand, on the floor, to allow babies and toddlers to sit in the sensory play and really get involved.

A Tuff Tray being used on the floor with lego.
A Tuff Tray is great for playing with Lego as it stops the little pieces spreading everywhere and getting trod on!

What do Children Learn from Tuff Tray’s?

Tuff Tray’s make sensory play easier and more appealing to young children as they can see everything clearly due to the low sides of the tuff tray. The activity is presented to them at their height, making it more appealing too.

Sensory play is so good for children’s brain development and learning as they grow.

Tuff Tray’s also promote group play and therefore children’s social skills as they play, talk and learn together.

We bought our Tuff Tray from Amazon UK.

Despite searching a lot, I cannot find any Tuff Trays available outside of the UK, but this Tray from Amazon would work well for all my Tuff Tray ideas. It’s waterproof, strong, easy to clean and store, and has those handy edges needed for messy play.

What Can I Use Instead of a Tuff Tray?

A big tub or the lid of a tub, a sand box, a household tray, or a builders tray, can be used instead of a Tuff Tray if you need a cheaper option. However, in my experience the Tuff Tray is better due to its size, adjustable stand, and ease of cleaning.

If you are looking for a Tuff Tray but can’t get hold of one where you live, then this big tray, with edges, from Amazon would be my preferred second choice.

An image showing just one of the reasons I think it is worth getting a tuff tray for my kids. An image of my daughter sitting at her tuff tray playing with her magnetic shapes.

How do you clean a Tuff Tray?

One of the reasons I love our Tuff Tray so much is the ease of cleaning.

It is so quick and easy to clean!

Just use some washing up liquid, water and a cloth or scrubbing sponge if it’s something that’s been dried onto it for a while.

Where do you Store Tuff Trays?

The best place to store a Tuff Tray is in a shed, garage or in a big cupboard.

One of the great things about tuff tray’s is that they can be taken off the stand so easily and then stored standing on their side. The stand can be dismantled into smaller pieces for easy storage too.

Although you can play on a Tuff Tray outside and use them for water play, I wouldn’t recommend leaving them outside overnight.

If left outside in the rain, the legs will, in time, go rusty which is far from ideal.

Personally, in our house we use our Tuff Tray daily so it has it’s own little spot in the corner of the kitchen.

The pin text reads, 10 totally legit benefits of buying a Tuff Tray. Plus tons of Tuff Tray Play ideas. They're cheaper than you think! An image shows a girl at the tuff tray playing.
Is it worth getting a Tuff Tray?

Is it worth getting a Tuff Tray? A Mom’s Honest Tuff Tray Review

You have probably guessed that, in my opinion, it is definitely worth getting a Tuff Tray.

I just love mine!

They are versatile, easy to clean, and store, and they grow with your kid. My Tuff Tray helps reduce the mess, without losing the fun of messy, sensory play.

It allows my kids to view their projects from different angles and perspectives. They can move around as they play, instead of having to sit still at the table.

A Tuff Tray can be used inside and outside. I never run out of new ideas to try in mine.

Getting this Tuff Tray from Amazon UK was one of the best decisions I made for my kids learning and play at home, so I’ll have to end my Mom’s Honest Review by giving it five stars!

* Since writing this review, I have discovered that Tuff Trays appear to be just a UK thing! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find them for sale outside of the UK. However I did find this Tray from Amazon that is the next best thing. It’s got those handy edges that you want for messy play, is strong, waterproof, and easy to clean and store.