Are you looking for Painting Tuff Tray Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers today? If so, then this is the article for you! It’s stuffed full of easy painting tuff tray activities you can do with your toddlers with minimal prep time.
I know how busy life is when you’re looking after toddlers!
That’s why I have purposefully kept these quick and easy for you.
Low-prep, easy, interesting, and fun is my style when it comes to toddler and preschooler activities, and these certainly meet that criteria!
If you’re interested in seeing more of my Preschooler and Toddler Tuff Tray ideas be sure to check out:
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Using my Tuff Tray to do all these painting ideas made life so much easier and really helped to reduce the mess!
If you haven’t already got one yourself, I would highly recommend them! I just love mine!
It is just absolutely perfect for activities like painting.
If you’re not sure, you can check out the benefits of them here, Is it Worth Getting a Tuff Tray? A Mom’s Honest Tuff Tray Review.
There are so many companies selling them, and different sizes to consider, but we have found ours is just right for activities. If you like the look of it, you can grab it from Amazon here!
Despite lots of searching, I cannot find a Tuff Trays available outside of the UK. However This Tray from Amazon would work well for all these Painting Tuff Tray ideas. It’s easy to clean and store, strong, and has those handy edges that you want for messy play.
Ok, on with the Tuff Tray Painting Ideas!
1. Animal Footprints
This was a popular activity with my little Preschooler.
She enjoyed choosing the animals she wanted to make footprints with and then experimenting with painting their feet different colors to make multicolored footprints!
This is a brilliantly simple preschool painting activity to develop curiosity and color exploration.
We chatted about the different sizes and shapes of the animal’s footprints, which led to talking about how each of us is created with differences and similarities.
We even snuck in a nice bit of math as we counted how many feet each animal had and noticed that some of the animals have patterns on their coats.
2. Homemade Chalk Painting
Painting directly onto the table has to be one of the big advantages of a Tuff Tray.
My kid’s kept checking that they really were allowed to ‘draw on this table’!
This chalk paint is super quick and easy to clean up and doesn’t stain so it’s an absolute winner, in my eyes!
I used Nurture Store’s Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe as it just uses old chunky chalk and water. Why not keep things simple whenever you can?
I love that my kids can help me make this chalk paint, before enjoying creating with it.
I mean, there are low prep activities, and then there are activities that your kids can quickly and easily prep with you. Now those are great to pull out of your bag on a rainy day!
Of course, if you want to go bigger than the Tuff Tray and create something on a grander scale, this chalk paint recipe works really well for outside on the sidewalk too!
I just love that when it’s not the weather to go outside, hello Scotland, we can still enjoy chalk painting at home on our Tuff Tray.
3. Paint Potions
This was a great activity for when our paint had nearly run out!
The kids loved mixing the colors to make their potions.
They really let their imaginations run wild as they talked about what they were using and what their potion was going to do. We had everything from baking creations, to medicines, to magic spells!
I added some glitter and sequins for them to mix into their potions, but you can really just add whatever you have to hand.
This is one of my Preschoolers and Toddlers favorite tuff tray painting activities.
Creating potions has been very popular in our home, so I have actually created a post on How to Make a Potion Station on your Tuff Tray. Check it out if you want the full low-down on it and some further ideas.
4. Painting on Ice
This is a great painting activity for Summer.
My kid’s loved the idea of painting on ice, and then watching it slowly melt until all the colors mixed at the end.
It was something a little different and a great cool-down activity on a hot day.
It was great that our tuff tray contained the mess, as this would have been a super messy activity if done on a regular table!
We talked about ice melting into water and about the color mixing as it melted. Therefore it became a pretty educational painting activity!
5. Painting Tuff Tray Activities for Toddlers : Sensory Play
Shaving foam is lovely for messy play.
My little ones were keen to get stuck in with this tuff tray activity!
I squirted a few different colors of paint on top of the shaving foam and let them experiment with mixing the colors and swirling them into shapes and patterns.
They even had a go writing their names on it.
This is one of the activities I recommend for practicing early writing skills in my post, Teach Your Kid to Write Their Name: 15+ Fun and Easy Activities.
Our little ones really do learn best through play and sensory experiences.
6. Tyre Marks Painting with Trucks and Tractors
Painting with trucks and tractors is one of those tuff tray activities that is so simple to set up, yet so fun for our Toddlers and Preschoolers! It’s interesting watching the different patterns of the tyre tracks form on the paper.
There’s lots of opportunity to discuss sizes, and which tracks are bigger and smaller than the others. It’s also a great activity for color blending and practicing the skill of prediction.
7. Painting Rocks and Shells
Painting rocks is a classic kids’ activity, right?
If you live close to a beach or visit one on holiday, it can be great fun choosing some pebbles and big shells to take home to paint.
A fab tuff tray painting activity for toddlers and preschoolers to develop their imaginations and ideas about the world.
8. Loose Parts Paint Stamping
This loose-parts painting activity was a great alternative to the more traditional potato stamps you can make for kids. It was also faster and easier to set up too! Winner!
The kids explored the different shapes of the objects and the impressions they made.
If you haven’t heard of loose parts play before you can read more about what it is, why it’s important for little one’s development, how you can do it for free, and ideas for loose parts garden play in my post. Frugal Loose Parts Garden Play You Can Do Right Now.
9. Bubble Wrap Painting
Painting bubble wrap is great process art and a fun sensory experience.
This is especially the case for young toddlers who will use their hands to explore the different textures.
My kid’s used the paintbrush and then their fingers to fill in all the gaps and crevasses of the bubble wrap.
You could also get a sheet of paper and press it onto your painted bubble wrap to make a pretty print.
10. Scratch Card Creation
This one was more of a mini craft painting idea.
We coloured a piece of the card completely with different colours of wax crayon. Then we painted over the top in just one block colour for each side of the card.
Once the paint was dry, we used the end of a paintbrush to scratch a drawing into the card. This scratched off the paint and revealed the colored crayon underneath.
11. Colour Mixing Tuff Tray Activity
This is a great experimenting tuff tray idea for curious little minds.
I cut circles out of white paper. Then I put a blob of red on one circle, left one circle blank, put blue on the next, next one blank, then yellow on the next, and then the next blank. Lastly, I added an empty circle to the middle of the tuff tray.
The idea was to paint the circle with the colour that was in it. Then the empty circles had to be coloured with the 2 colours on either side of them.
This enabled the toddlers to see for themselves what secondary colors they could make when they mixed certain primary colors.
The middle circle was for mixing all the colors together.
12. Tin Foil Painting on the Tuff Tray
Painting on top of tin foil was an interesting activity for my little ones to try out.
They enjoyed the crinkling noise and the slightly reflective surface.
This one was also super quick and easy for clean up!
Fun Painting Tuff Tray Ideas and Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
I hope these fun Painting Tuff Tray Ideas have inspired you to get painting with your Preschoolers and Toddlers.
Painting is such a good creative, imaginative, and fine motor skills activity for our little ones to learn. These tuff tray activities are perfect for that and so quick and simple to set up.
If you like a Seasonal Tuff Tray then take a look at,