Nature Play: Setting Up a Tinker Tray Filled with Nature Loose Parts

A tinker tray is a tray generally filled with loose parts or objects found around the house or environment. A tinker tray is filled with natural materials, and these materials usually spark children’s interest.

Loose parts are materials that can be combined and redesigned to form something new. These loose parts can also be taken apart and put back together in several ways to form something new.

The best tinker trays are tinker trays filled with nature loose parts, and they can be used for several activities and even art-making projects. Everyone, including adults and children, can use tinker trays. However, in the case of children using these trays, they have to be supervised, and loose parts are required to be large so as to not pose a choking hazard.

Benefits of Tinker Trays

Tinker trays have several benefits, and the most outstanding of these benefits is that they encourage learning and are able to influence critical and creative thinking. So, it provided limitless opportunities for children who can turn the items in the tray into whatever they want.

These trays are very cheap to have as they are made up of different parts of other materials. They are generally used to decorate; however, the end results are based on how creative the users are. Activities carried out with tinker trays may include; making a self-portrait, collages, and treasure maps.

Tinker trays filled with nature loose parts may include a set of objects with no specific purpose. However, chances are that your kid will be able to turn these objects into a plaything and to create something new.

Best Tray That Can Be Used as A Tinker Tray

Any kind of tray can be used as a tinker tray, as long as it’s divided into compartments. However, wooden trays are the most preferred because they are durable and made from natural materials.

Wooden tinker trays filled with natural loose parts are a thing of beauty. This is because the wooden trays help store these natural materials properly. The kind of tray you use is based on your personal preference, and the materials put in the tray.

Several trays can be found online and in stores. For a disposable tinker tray, a plastic or cardboard box can be used.

Why Nature Loose Parts?

Tinker trays filled with household items are great for your kids. But those filled with nature loose parts also have some added benefits.

  • Items collected from your yard. Picking these loose parts like leaves, rocks, twigs, seedpods, etc., is a great way to connect with nature.
  • They present little or no harm to your immediate environment.
  • Loose parts from nature will help your child learn from and connect with nature.

Tinker Tray and Toddlers

When dealing with toddlers, it is better to introduce the tinker tray to them without any direction. Simply allow them to play around with the tinker tray and make a mental note on the materials the child was interested in playing with.

It is also important to occasionally check in on your kids and find out more about their ideas as this shows them that you’re interested and helps them in being more vocal about their ideas.


Using a tinker tray is a very good way to encourage creativity and promote problem-solving skills in kids. They get the opportunity to select materials and choose how best they think these materials can be used. Tinker trays filled with nature loose parts are great as they help with your children’s creativity and ensure that they tap into their artistic and creative sides.

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