Tray Play

It's play on a tray!

Sensory experiences for adults with cognitive challenges

About Tray Play

Tray Play is an open-ended activity designed for Activity Professionals and Carepartners working in long-term care who are dedicated to increasing the well-being of their residents and clients.

Tray Play is…

  • a hands-on table top activity showcased on a large white tray, using enticing materials for creative expression
  • a creative way to engage residents in stimulating activity
  • an activity that meets many needs of adults with varying cognitive or physical challenges.

Tray Play has wide appeal, and each tray design is unique, as the arrangement of materials depends on the player’s experience and imagination.  There are no expectations, rules, or directions to follow.  Everyone comes to the table with the abilities that they do have–and that is what is celebrated.  It’s just a chance to connect, awaken the senses, self-express, and rejuvenate.

Tray play is more than an activity, it’s an experience!

Download the Tray Play Quick Start Guide below to see how easy it is to get started!


In Action

Take a closer look at what Tray Play can look like in a group setting and one-on-one.

Example of a Tray Play group session

Example of a Tray Play one-on-one session

Our Philosophy

It's more of a journey, rather than a destination.

There is something very satisfying about one’s tray design when it comes to completion.  The player and facilitator sit back in admiration and soak in all the charm.  There is a sense of accomplishment and pride.  And this is wonderful to witness.  But, really, Tray Play is more process-oriented rather than product driven.

Tray Play is ultimately about sharing the present moment together and receiving a break from repetitive thoughts, worries, and concerns.  It can be a time to laugh, share thoughts, and be lively.  But it can also be a time of stillness, reflection, exploration.  There are no expectations, except for having respect for each other and honoring whatever surfaces without judgment.  It is a time to connect with others, ourselves, and the world around us.

By providing high quality Tray Play Kits and support for Tray Play facilitators, we ensure that everyone’s Tray Play experience, at whatever level, will be the best it can be.  To learn more about the Tray Play experience attend or host a Tray Play Workshop.

How It Works

We do the work. You have the fun!


Choose from unique Tray Play combinations inspired by the world we live in


Order exactly what you need for your players


Create engaging experiences for your players for years to come

The Tray Play Method

Caretaking, whether you are an activity professional or carepartner, is a monumental responsibility!  Therefore, Tray Play Kits were designed to make it easy, simple, and fun to offer multi-sensory experiences on an on-going basis. However…there is a METHOD behind successful implementation. And it’s this method that allows for the highest quality experience possible, ultimately providing the most fun for all!  Understanding all the nuances, ins and outs, and ways of communication with your players, will make your Tray Play experience engaging, productive, and invigorating.

View details about our introductory workshop here

Want to host your own Tray Play Workshop?
Contact or call (434) 227-0258.

Workshops Happening Summer 2016
Charlottesville, VAPACE June 21
Charlottesville, VAHome Instead July 14
Charlottesville, VAPACE July 19

Receive notification when a new Tray Play Kit becomes available!


We are currently selling  “Lavender Fields.”


Questions? Someone else might have had the exact same one. Lets find out!

When one is engaged in PLAY, having fun and enjoying one’s self , he or she is “in the moment.”   When one is in the present moment, then one is “in the zone.”  And when one is in the zone, THOUGHT, FEELING, and ACTION are focused on an activity simultaneously. When these three components are occurring at the same time, one’s concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything else.  Therefore, worries, concerns, repetitive thoughts, wane. A sense of feeling connected surfaces, relaxation sets in as stress dissipates, and a sense of JOY emerges.  The end result? A greater sense of well-being. Tray Play:
  • Encourages engagement and socialization
  • Stimulates the senses and mind
  • Fosters concentration and independent, creative work
  • Sparks conversation
  • Lifts the spirit
  • Evokes emotional responses
  • Reduces stress
  • Reconnects one with natural objects
  • Energizes while it relaxes
  • Provides a sense of autonomy and the sense of task completion and success
  • Allows one to come to it with their own skills and abilities, and make choices while being treated with respect and dignity
Yes.  YOU decide the level of your participation in the Tray Play experience. Levels of Tray Play facilitation Basic:
  1. Order your Tray Play Kits
  2. Download and review the Quick Start Tray Play Facilitation Guide here
  3. Offer a Tray Play kit to one player at a time or to a small group (2-4 players)
  4. Continue to offer other Tray Play kits throughout the months
  1. Everything in Basis plus...
  2. Add any or all of the following: music, lavender scented washcloths, photo documentation
  3. Consider offering the experience to new players or increasing your group size
  4. Attend or host a Tray Play Workshop
  1. Everything in Intermediate plus...
  2. Hire Nicole to be your Tray Play Success Coach
You can receive Tray Play facilitation support in a variety of ways:
  • Download the Quick Start Guide to Tray Play here
  • Attend or host a Tray Play Workshop
  • Hire Nicole to be your Tray Play Success Coach
  • Contact or (434) 227-0258
The Tray Play experience works well one-on-one or with small groups. Tray play is perfect for:

Activity Professionals working in:
  • Assisted Living/Memory Care facilities
  • Health and Rehab Centers
  • Adult Care settings
  • Hospice

Carepartners who are:
  • Home Health professionals
  • Family members
  • Volunteers
  • Neighbors
Tray Play Kits make it easy for Activity Professionals and Carepartners to offer the Tray Play Experience to the adults in their lives.  We do the leg work instead of you.  We decide on a theme, collect materials that we think work well together, and give them a test run with real players, so you don't have to.  And because Tray Play kits use high quality, timeless, reusable materials, your purchase becomes an investment as you will be able to use the kit time and time again, throughout the years.

It would be our pleasure to connect with you!

Charlottesville, VA
Phone Number
(434) 227-0258

Meet the Team

Nicole Root


Nicole’s passion is creating unique combinations of materials that work well together to help Activity Professionals and Caregivers and the adults they care for, feel inspired, empowered, and rejuvenated. She realizes that it can be challenging to offer fresh, engaging, purposeful, stimulating, person-centered activities on a regular basis, especially when a wide variety of cognitive abilities need to be addressed.

Mark Root


Mark makes all of Nicole’s wishes come true by offering technical and “behind the scenes” support.

Maddie Root


Maddie, a developing artist, shares her talents by assisting with photography and video footage. She also helps with kit assembly.

Chloe Root


Chloe, an innovator at heart, is instrumental in kit assembly.