Easy-to-follow and inexpensive party and garden activity ideas using a tuff tray!
Susanne from Parties and Play Days shares some great easy to follow and inexpensive activity ideas for entertaining kids using the trusty tuff tray!
I love this time of year when the family can get out into the garden more often.
We use our tuff tray (also known as a tuff spot) inside the house on rainy days but it is so nice to use it outdoors as it gives the children something different to do in the garden (especially handy when you have a small backyard like ours!) You can get super creative with your set-ups but when time & energy doesn’t allow, it is just as fun filled with water or sand.
Here are some different ways of using a tuff tray outdoors:-
Water beads are a really easy but fun addition to the tray. Simply put out a tub of them with some kitchen toys and watch the kids scoop & pour, enjoying the texture of the smooth, squidgy beads.
Add a marble run to the mix for extra speedy fun, the beads whizz down it!
If you’re feeling a bit more creative, how about a sensory seaside tray. As well as the beads you could add sand, sand toys, shells and make some seaweed by mixing cooked linguine with green food colouring. The base mat is cut from a metre of pvc from Dunelm, they have lots of different designs.
Tuff trays take the headache out of messy play by containing it! My children love making potions so I put all the ingredients (vinegar & bicarbonate of soda for fizzing potions, petals, coloured water…anything goes!) in the tray with some spoons, pipettes & bowls and let them get on with it!
You could also have a go at this ice cream parlour using shaving foam and cous cous, both mixed with food colouring. Just be prepared to be the customer over & over again!
Small World Play
If your children enjoy small world play then a tuff tray is a great opportunity to bring their Happyland/superheroes/ponies into the great outdoors without them getting lost or muddy. Arrange a fairy woodland/village/superhero HQ in the tray out of whatever toys you have and it gives a whole new backdrop for their figures whilst they get some fresh air & Vitamin D!
Alternatively, add some roads to the tray for vehicle fans using chalk pens (they wash off the tray easily) or masking tape, put in some cars & watch them go!
Keep it simple or be creative. This farmyard was made from Easter egg boxes (with some astro-turf samples & out-of-date coffee thrown in!)
Or you could go the whole hog and combine small world with sensory plus a few fun tasks to boot!
Collect shells, twigs, conkers, pine cones, leaves, flowers & stones whilst on walks and see what you & your children can create.
Draw or paint animals onto stones – create an animal hunt around the garden &/or use them for small world play.
Pine cones painted green in brown play dough make great trees!
Or put paper, glue and paint in the tray along with your findings and see what they come up with. You can’t beat a helicopter seed for a moustache!