We're at that time of year when the days entertaining a toddler can feel super long… I always look to Instagram accounts like FiveMinuteMum and Beckys Treasure Baskets to help give me just 5 minutes peace whilst the boys are playing (and learning, of course!).
I had a friend recently ask if a tuff tray was worth it... It's something I hadn't really given that much thought too. I did the first time round with Joey - I coveted one for ages, and then as soon as I had one... I just didn't really know how to use it. Yet, as soon as Zack could pull himself up to stand, he was busy playing on our tuff tray with Joey.
We have ours on a stand, usually in the garden, and it's been fantastic. All the reaching across and scooting around it together is super exciting for them. When he was younger, I used to use our tuff tray on the floor with Joey, but he was usually hesitant to step on it - I must have known that we just wouldn't have the same reaction from Zack. Whilst they are brothers, they are completely different children. Joey is quite reserved and takes a lot of reassurance to try something new. Whereas Zack is the exact opposite - head first into anything and everything.
So, when I was asked by my friend to let her know my favourite ways of using our tuff tray, I couldn't resist throwing a little blog together...
Here are my favourite wet play activities for the boys!
🧼Bubbles and water: This one is super easy to throw together! Squirt some washing up liquid or handwash onto your tuff tray (we use a sensitive one as the boys skin can get a bit eczema-y) and get the hose out. Pop some plastic cups, brushes, plastic plates, plastic animals, cars, whatever you fancy, onto the tray and let your kids lead the way. To mix it up a bit we love adding our toy sink - as recommended to us by @eyesofamum or adding some essential oil to the water. And if you've got any spare dishmatic brushes, they are a fantastic resource too.
🪒Shaving foam plus letters/numbers: Grab some shaving foam from the bathroom and pop some on the tray. Spread it out so it's not to thick and introduce some plastic letters or numbers to the mix. Get your little ones to trace the letters or numbers into the shaving foam! It can really be that simple. Or, again, you can add essential oils into the mix to add a sensory element to it, or even food colouring! It's likely your little ones may want to add other things to the activity, like animal toys, toy plates etc, so be prepared to rinse everything down after!
🧊Ice: Ice requires some overnight prep. So, grab some of your little ones water safe toys - we like to use dinosaurs or animal figures, and freeze them overnight IN a plastic bowl or another freezable container. If you've got some that fit into an ice cube tray (and they are a suitable size for your child), then even better. Just before starting your activity, get them out, as well as a bowl of lukewarm water and a toy hammer (not 100% necessary, but a child's hammer from their xylophone set for example!). Get your little one to warm up the ice to release their favourite toy! They can practice everything from holding the ice, to breathing on it, to dipping it into the warm water. It's a great one to spark lots of conversations about 'opposites' (e.g. hot and cold), and how things may 'change' (e.g. from ice to water). You can add an extra dimension to this by adding some food colouring to the water before freezing.
Really hope you enjoy these ideas and build on them in your own way too!
Lauren, Joey & Zack x