The wicker tray is a beautiful, natural alternative to the standard plastic tray. Create an inspirational invitation to play with this natural wicker tray. Perfect for heuristic play resources, loose parts and wooden toys, it is easy for little ones to access.

It works well on our wooden stand and equally as well on the floor.

Hayley from @littlewiseowlschildminding loves her wicker tray, she says:

“I love the heuristic wicker tray, it looks naturally appealing and blends in well creating a more calm environment. In my setting, it sits well on top of a sturdy wooden crate. I also use it on the floor which is more inviting for little crawling explorers, it’s very spacious so they can climb in and investigate! My little ones like the feel of the wicker as they run their fingers over the tray giving that added sensory experience. 

It works well when setting up nature-based play invitations really enhancing those natural treasures”. 

We have compiled 20 of our most recent Wicker Tray play ideas to share with you:

Small Worlds Tray Play - Dear Zoo - Bookish Play

Small World play in the wicker tray, with Zoo animals to explore and Dear Zoo to read.

Wicker Tray Play - zoo

Wooden Toys Wicker Tray Play

Include Natural and wooden toys for children to explore and investigate. The wicker tray is inviting when on the floor as children will climb in to explore it's contents. Here we used wooden nesting bowls, Trog Houses, Peg people and wooden texture print cars - perfect for sand too!

Wicker Tray Play - naturals - heuristic play

Woodland Animal Small World Tray Play

How inviting is this small world woodland scene in our wicker tray? With lots of natural treasures for the animals to hide in.

Wicker Tray Play - woodland small world play

Magical Dragon Tray Play

We love this magical Dragon scene in our Wicker tray. Exploring the colour blue and a story about Dragons to read outdoors. So inviting! This little one got stuck straight into the magic glass gems!

Valentine's Day theme Tray Play

Beautiful Tinker trays to explore and investigate on our wicker tray. Chickpeas are popular tray play accessories along with flowers and petals and pom poms.

Christmas themed Tray Play

Sparkly Christmas treasures in the wicker tray and a loose parts invitation to create a beautiful Christmas Tree.

Wicker Tray Play - christmas

Sprout Racing Tray Play!

This looks like so much fun - racing left over sprouts down mixed surface wooden guttering. A wooden ten frame also works well here for basic counting skills.

Fairytale Worlds

Now doesn't this large mushroom look magical in this play set up? Plants make a perfect addition to tray play. A felt scenery mat was also used in this one to create a base.

Wicker Tray Play - fairytale world

Learning to count

Learning to count with number trays, peg people and pine cones.

Natural Treasures Small World Outdoor Play

Allow children to create their own worlds with natural loose parts treasures. Included below are bamboo pots, real wood trees and a bridge.

Wicker Tray Play - naturals

Dinosaur Dig Tray Play and Investigations

Dig for dinosaur bones, fossils and skeletons in sand. Explore the variety of Dinosaurs that can be found. We also used Alphabet Lozenges here too.

Wicker Tray Play - dinosaur dig

Halloween Wicker Tray Play

Spooky Halloween set ups in our wicker tray by @wolfcubplay

A Walk through the Woods - story time

Bookish Play is popular at the moment. Linking books to play can be a fantastic way to open up the play, inspiring rich opportunities for talk and understanding.

book play - outdoor play

Chinese New Year Wicker Tray Play

Loose parts tinker tray play in the wicker tray. Children love to tinker and explore.

Wicker Tray Play - chinese new year

Exploring Colours and Rainbows

Encourage children to find lots of colourful resources to add to the mix. Can they identify all the colours? What will they create with all these beautiful, colourful loose parts?

Rain before Rainbows Bookish play in the wicker tray. Can children create rainbows in this beautiful wooden rainbow maker with felt balls?

Wicker Tray Play - rainbows

Slow Down Bookish Play

Bring calm to a busy world with 50 Nature Stories - a wonderful book to learn through play and to discover a world of nature and how they occur.

Wicker Tray Play - nature

Counting Pots with Stick people

Featuring our Bamboo Counting Pots.

Wicker Tray Play - Counting

More Wicker Tray Play Ideas from @LittleWiseOwlsChildminding:

The Three Little Pigs - story time play in the wicker tray

With thanks to Wolf Cub Play

Share your tray play ideas with us every week for #CosyTuffSpot Tuesday. Don't forget to tag us @CosyDirect and use the # over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Share your tray play with us in our dedicated Facebook Cosy Tray Play Group.

With thanks to The Cosy Creatives, Little Wise Owls Childminding and Wolf Cub Play for all the wonderful ideas in this blog post.

Watch out for our Wicker Mirror Circle Tray Play Ideas blog - coming soon!

tray play ideas

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