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Three Little Pigs Tuff tray and small world inspiration

Three Little Pigs Tuff tray and small world inspiration

The Three Little Pigs Tuff tray went down really well on our play date. The children were instantly drawn to the STEM style activity whereby they were given the instruction to build their own house that had to withstand the ‘huff puff’ test. They enjoyed the story and then we left them to it. We gave very little guidance as we wanted to see what they could devise themselves. We did have to support the toddlers a little, especially when it came to the assembly.  The children came up with some incredibly inventive ideas such as building a ‘wolf prison’. Where the idea came from who knows but we were impressed. The toddlers enjoyed giving the pigs ‘mud baths’ and burying the pigs to hide them from the wolf to then try to find them again later.

Don’t forget to enter this weeks competition, details of which can be found under the product review. 

The activity was perfect to teach kids about construction, stability, properties of materials, and of course, the importance of selecting the right material for the job. The Tuff was great for creative and imaginative play but we left this set up as the children spent hours on the building activities as they were so engrossed in play. The Clued In Kid moved to the Tuff tray after her friends had gone home.

Equipment in a flash

You do not need specialist equipment as you can print off the characters on lolly sticks, use animals from a toy farm, have prebuilt houses e.g. a wigwam made from sticks etc, but we have included a selection of the items we have used if you want to have the exact set up.

* Three Little Pigs and Wolf toys – We used The Three Little Pigs: Wooden Characters available from Small Eco Steps

*3 houses made in advance from either cardboard, straw, twigs or bricks. We cheated and used three houses from the The Three Little Pigs: Wooden Characters set.

*Artificial turf or green card board.

*Rice Krispies

*Coco Pops

*Green dyed pasta (optional)

*Sensory scarf and decorative beads to make a river or stream

*Toy ducks – ours are Tidlo

*Woodland animals – We used Tender Leaf animals.

*Tree trunk (optional) – We used the Large Tree Play stump available from Small Eco Steps 

*Toy trees

*To decorate, decorative leaves, pine cones, twigs

*3 little pigs story cards (optional) – Also available from Small Eco Steps 

*Duplo or Lego bricks

*Paper straws


*String or sellotape

*Toy tools

Three Little Pigs manning the wolf prison! 


  1. Add artificial grass or green cardboard to roughly two thirds of the tray.
  2. Divide the final space in half and add your Coco Pops to one half and Rice Krispies to the other.
  3. Add in your straw and stick building piggies and houses.
  4. For the house made of bricks, we added green pasta to act as a small garden and used left over rice krispies to add a garden path. This is optional as the artificial grass will more than suffice. To make the dyed pasta, add green food colouring to dry pasta and then leave overnight to dry.
  5. To make the stream, lay out the sensory scarf and secure at either end. We used Grimms rainbow but you can use any blue item. Add the decorative pebbles (optional) and add ducks.
  6. Decorate by adding the woodland animals, pine cones, leaves and spare twigs.
  7. Along the side, lay out some spare twigs, straws and bricks to encourage the children to make their own house that will stand up to the ‘huff puff’ test. Give them either Sellotape, string or glue to secure the items together.

Suggested activities to further play

Suggested activities:

  1. Use the sequence story cards and ask the children to tell you the story.
  2. Seize the opportunity to ask questions e.g. why is this material not as strong as this one? What could we do to make the straws for instance withstand the huff puff test (e.g. make thicker walls by adding multiple layers).
  3. Give the pigs a mud bath – use cocoa powder mixed with a little water. Use washable toys only for this.
  4. Make a pig from a toilet roll holder.
  5. Cut out cardboard houses and give the kids some glue, straw, twigs and pieces of terracotta coloured paper to look like bricks and ask them to glue the items on to their cardboard house.
  6. Use paper plates to make a wolf or a pig mask.
  7. Create a song or a dance as an alternative to e.g. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Product review - The Three Little Pigs Wooden Characters

You get seven wooden items (four figures and three houses) which were the perfect addition to our small world. There is a good degree of detail as the pigs each had hold of either a piece of straw, stick or a brick and were painted both sides. The pigs were very popular between our crew, are lightweight and the right size to be able to be used to test the kids own house designs (and prison). The set was easy to wash and the kids loved the flexibility behind the figures which are perfect for self-directed play either at home or in a childcare setting. The figures measure between 50-105mm in height. The houses and characters came in a drawstring mesh bag for easy storage. If you are interested in purchasing this item, the price is £16.80 and is available at Small Eco Steps of Chester who will post the item throughout the UK

Credit for image above belongs to Yellow Door

Product review - Tell me a story sequencing cards

These are great value for money as for only £12 you get sequencing cards for six classic stories. Stories include The Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Gingerbread Man. You get 30 cards in total so each story has five cards measuring 120 x 120mm each. The cards are great for developing logical thinking/sequencing skills and of course for developing children’s literacy skills as you talk through what the child observes in each image and how the characters move from one scene to the other. Older children can be encouraged to tell you the story using the cards or make up their own story to an extent. Again the cards are easy to clean so although we used them on the side of the Tuff tray, there would be no issue if you wanted to use them as a focus of your Tuff. If you are interested in trying this item for yourselves, they are available to buy from Small Eco Steps of Chester 

Competition time....

In collaboration with Small Eco Steps of Chester, each week we set you a theme for fun play at home. This weeks theme is building so if you take a picture of your little one doing anything construction related, post to instagram using the hashtag #lovingecolife or add it to the facebook group Small eco families to be in with a chance of winning. Voting occurs every Saturday so the competition ends Sat 5th September. 

Additional information and terms and conditions:

*Please note that some items pose a choking risk for babies so if your child does have younger siblings, you may wish to substitute some items.

*This Three Little Pigs inspired Tuff tray is kindly sponsored by Small Eco Steps of Chester who can post their items throughout the UK. 

*We have used other items from a number of different retailers and we are always at the end of an email if you wish to ask us where we purchased the other items from.

*We asked another parent around to help us write our product review to ensure that the review is an honest and objective representation of the item.

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