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Top 5 Tuff Spot Ideas for Fun Sensory Play on a Hot Day

A tuff spot, or tuff tray, is the perfect way of exploring sensory play with your children, and allows them to learn through open ended imaginative play. 

They can be used all year round but all excellent fun in warmer months in the garden.

Tuff spots are often made from a builders octagonal mixing tray, that can be purchased at a DIY merchants. This can be used indoors or outdoors, and placed at various heights for a variety of ages. Not got a tuff spot, don't worry! You can also use a sandpit, water table or even a big plastic storage box for the same effect. 

Here are some easy and fun ideas for your tuff tray on a hot day: 


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1. Excavate frozen dinosaur eggs

This is dino-mite! Take small plastic dinosaurs and carefully pop them in a balloon, then fill with water. After tying, place in the freezer overnight for best results. The next day, cut through the balloon to release the dinosaur eggs! Kids can use tools such as brushes or wooden spoons to try and excavate the dinosaurs, and discover how different tools have different effects. While this is a great sensory activity for toddlers, older kids can use warm water and experiment with learning how ice melts! Add biodegradable glitter or food colouring for an extra level of fun! 


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2. Aquafaba/Chick Pea Sensory Foam

 Chickpeas: first hummus and now this- is there seriously anything they can't do? If you have a tin of chickpeas, keep the liquid that they come with: this is aquafaba, and can be used as an egg alternative for a vegan meringue, and also as sensory foam! While it might not be very yummy, it's safe for little ones to taste! Use a whisk to create stiff peaks in the aquafaba, and then the fun starts! Using a teaspoon of cream of tartar makes the mixture thicker and denser if you need. You can use it to explore different textures, practice pouring and using containers, or colour with food colouring to learn about colour mixing. 


Image source: @rainydaymum

3. Shaving cream and food colouring art

Picasso WHO?! We have the previously mentioned chick pea foam to thank for another activity! Using paints or food colouring, marble the colours through the foam and have fun creating swirly patterns and new colours. Then place a sheet of paper over and press gently, and it will reveal a beautiful marble effect. After drying, this could be used for cards to send to friends and family, or maybe made into bunting! 


Image source: @takelearningoutdoors 

4. Shape Sorting

An activity that can be modified for age group and ability; use chalk or masking tape to create areas of shapes or colours. Use a range of whatever you have around the house, and let your little ones arrange by colour, 2D shape, 3D shape or even by letter! 

5. Potion Making 

Who didn't love potion making when they were younger?? Move over Jo Malone, young me had some rose petals crushed up in a bottle of water! This is especially great if you've also been reading the Roald Dahl classic George's Marvellous Medicine, and can discuss what you'd want you potions to be able to do! This activity encourages fine motor skills through pouring and mixing, and of course imagination! Flower petals, coloured water, leaves and condiments like honey or lemon juice can all be used to safely make a fun (and hopefully not actually magical) potion! 

Top Tip

If you are using your tuff spot outside on a warm day always check the temperature yourself before letting your little one play as they can get hot.

Want more tuff spot ideas check out our other blog 8 Tips for a Tuff Spot and Stand.

Author Emma Watson founder of Little Hotdog Watson

Little Hotdog Watson is a kidswear brand with a difference. We make kids hats unlike any other by combining style + innovation. Our sun hats offer triple protection from UV, Mosquitoes and Overheating, while our winter hats are water resistant, reflective and extra cosy. Take a look at our hats here.


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