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8 Outdoor Tuff Spot & Play Stand Ideas

The holidays are here and it’s time to let your little adventurers free outdoors! But what to do when you’ve got 2 weeks to fill and you don’t want to go far from the house everyday… Introducing, tuff spot play!  

Originating as builder’s cement trays, these huge plastic trays have now become synonymous with containing messy play activities and holding creative prompts to help kids have fun. The idea being that you can set-up, sit back and watch them play while you enjoy a few moments peace (or catch-up on biz/life admin). 

As well a tuff spot itself, many parents swear by a tuff spot stand to allow your child to stand-up as they play, and to keep contents from younger siblings or pets. But it’s not crucial and does requires extra storage space for an already hefty item. 

Here’s a mix of outdoor tuff spot and play stand ideas whichever you choose: 

Petals and watering cans

Image: Pinterest

1. Petal tea party 

Pop out old cups saucers and teapots, or their own kids tea set, and sprinkle with flower cuttings and petals. Add water and let them mix, serve and pretend to sip their own petal tea.

Water with kids ocean animal toys

Image: Pinterest

2. Ocean play 

Fill your tuff spot with water, add pebbles and plastic aquatic toys, and let their imagination run wild as they splash. When you start to see their attention dwindling, add a fishing net and a bucket for further fun. 

Kids sand tray with seashells

Image: TrishyLishy

3. Seaside in a tray 

For another aquatic option, create a mini seaside in a tray with sand, water, boats, and shells (even better if you collected them together straight from the beach). 

Kids dinoland full of leaves and dinosaur toys

Image: Adventures of Adam 

4. Dinoland

I love how simple tuff spot set-ups can be. Look at this one which simply involves leaves and plastic dinosaurs!

Kids nature dig

Image: Learning And Exploring Through Play

5. Nature dig 

Help your kids to explore their senses and touch, feel and smell nature with this easy tuff spot prompt. Add leaves, herbs, twigs, rocks, and sand so they have a mix of textures – then leave alongside toy diggers. Watch as they scoop, build and get messy with a big smile on their face! 

Child with giant bubble

Image: Learning And Exploring Through Play

6. Giant bubbles 

For wow moments this Spring, try making giant bubbles with a tuff spot and a hula hoop. Fill with fairy liquid & water, dip in the hoop and then pull it up to reveal huge bubbles. If your child is feeling brave they can step in the try and have you pull a bubble up around them too!   

Child outdoors splashing in bubbles with toys

Image: Clares Little Tots

7. Soapy splash

If you don’t want to make too much mess in your garden or courtyard, try this good clean sensory game – perfect for toddlers. Simply fill your tuff spot with bubbly water and toys and watch them enjoy. 

Outdoor kids mini garden with mini gardening gloves and spade

Image: Pinterest

8. Mini Garden 

Don’t let a lack of garden stop your explorers from getting muddy and trying their hand at potting plants! Now you can have a contained space to set them up with their own mini garden with soil, pots, plants, sticks and gardening tools. Brilliant. 

I first heard about Tuff Spots over in the Playhooray Community. A fab group run by friend and fellow small business owner Claire of PlayHOORAY! Definitely worth a join if you’re often looking for more play ideas for small children. 

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Don’t forget to keep your kids protected outdoors with our childrens hats packed with smart design to keep them safe and comfy, whatever the weather. Browse our hats now. 

Enjoyed this blog? You might like our article: 15 Outdoor Games Grown-Ups Can Join In With.

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