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5 Sensory Tuff Tray Ideas for your toddler in September

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

September is here! If you will be bringing your tuff trays to the great indoors this month, then good news! ForestTots has devised a list of 5 nature-themed sensory tuff tray activity ideas (as always, tried and tested on our toddler and in our ForestTots play groups) that you could try at home! Let's begin with...

Pretend mud in a tuff tray with pretend bugs in hiding places

1. Bug Hunt! Pour a load of pretend mud (you could use black rice or ForestTots pretend mud), scatter some leaves, create some hidey-holes like large stones or half coconuts, and hide some pretend bugs around! Give your little one a scoop and/or some toddler-safe tweezers and they can dig, scoop, explore and find! Make it feel like September!

Tip: If you have a log burner, pop one of your kiln dried logs down for authenticity!

A potting table sensory activity with black rice and wooden vegetables on a tuff tray.

2. Potting Table! A bit like the above - only instead of bugs and hidey-holes, pop in some pots and wooden vegetables, maybe some blackbeans as pretend seeds (careful though, these could be a choking hazard for younger ones). Throw in some child-safe gardening tools and teach them what happens when you plant a seed. It's a fantastic way to introduce them to the world of gardening in the winter months.

A bear hunt ice tuff tray sensory activity

3. Ice Play! Water and/or ice play can be a really cheap and easy activity for your tuff tray. We incorporated the above ideas along with ice, and some grasses/herbs to do a bear hunt day! Swishy swashy grass, squelchy mud and the ice storm! Hoooo wooooooo!

Or you could add polar bears or penguins.

Tip: Make your own pretend snow by mixing hair conditioner with baking soda!

A feed the herbivores dinosaur sensory tray activity

4. Feed the Herbivores! At our Dinosaur Day recently, the tots had a blast on our 'feed the herbivores' activity, we set out some herbs, toddler-safe scissors and bowls, and they loved feeding the dinosaurs. This is amazing for their fine motor skills, and they will appreciate the smells too! At our dinosaur day, we started selling our Dino Adventure Activity kit too.

The life cycle of a frog in a pond life tuff tray sensory activity

5. Frog Life Cycle! Using a tiny bit of water and some lily pads, frogs (and, if you're feeling brave, chia seeds for frogs' spawn), you can talk your tot through the life cycle of the frog! Add other pretend pond life, and talk them through what they might find... it promotes an understanding of aquatic ecosystems. And they'll also love to splash about (have a towel on hand!)

Tip: Add herbs like dill and tarragon to mimic pond weeds, adding an extra sensory experience!

Got any more ideas? Leave a comment or drop us an email at


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