Imaginative play with food and natural resources is always a hit, plus the different textures provide opportunities for comparison and description.


  • Tuff tray
  • Farm animals
  • Tractors and diggers
  • Orange lentils
  • Rice – I used wild rice, brown rice and white rice
  • Breadsticks and a stick to divide fields
  • Brown mat for mud
  • Blue scarf for water


I really enjoyed watching their play develop with this one. They started off by making rafts to get their animals and tractors from one side to another.

The orange backhoe (they insisted in getting their digger book and researching the real names!) transported rocks and later lentils. They poured rice over the combine harvester to make the blades turn.

The horse buried the duck in the sand.

A big wave covered the farmlands, turning them to mud, so they had to rescue the pig. In he process, the tractor got stuck in the mud.

And so it went on.. They both played with this tray for over two hours yesterday, with Finn a further hour today.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 01 – Listening and attention:

Children give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively.

Understanding the world

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Expressive arts and design

ELG 17 – Being imaginative:

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through role-play and stories.