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This is probably going to be a semi-regular spot on my blog. I used to do lots of sensory play and tuff spot type activities with the kids when I had my original blog, Activities 4 Kidz, but then life got in the way and I stopped doing it. A renewed sense of enthusiasm from all of us saw us order a new tuff spot and start using it once again!
Tuff spots, or tuff trays, are a great investment whatever age kids you have. They are not only superb for messy and sensory play but for small world imaginative play, science investigations, water play, crafts, cars, and lego. They’re only about £15 on Amazon. They’re easy to wipe clean and store flat under a bed or something.
I’m going to be using it for various things so if all goes to plan (ha!), I’ll be sharing things you can do with babies and big kids, and nothing involves any expensive materials or equipment.
Because it was our first time doing messy play at home for many years, we kept it quite simple and used inspiration from a messy playgroup I go to with Elizabeth once a week.
I made up a bowl of pink spaghetti, by cooking it as normal but added a hefty dose of food colouring to the water. Once the spaghetti was cool, I put a few drops of oil in to stop it clumping together. I also added some shaving foam (well, it should have been foam, but I had picked up gel by mistake – it worked anyway!), and gave them bowls, scissors for cutting the spaghetti, a cupcake tin, cupcake cases, and bowls and spoons.
This was a relatively unstructured and unthemed tuff spot because I wanted to see how they reacted – and how the cleanup operation went – before committing myself too much, but it was a big hit with the boys.
They started off spooning the spaghetti and shaving gel into the cupcake cases to make ‘cakes’, before realizing ti was lots more fun to squish them together. Listening to them and watching them was fascinating – talking about how dropping the spaghetti from a height would make a ‘splodge’, and experimenting with the best height to drop from to make the best sound. It then descended into chaos from that point onwards, which is when it was time to start putting it away!