Rice, lentils and cereals make for some fantastic sensory experiences. I use dry foods a lot in our tuff spot, and the girls always enjoy playing with it. So, without further ado, here are seven great food-based tuff spots for you to try.
This farmyard tuff spot did take a little while to set up, but it was definitely worth it to see the enjoyment that M got out of it! She loved experiencing all of the different textures and playing with the farm animals. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we played with it – I think I might need to recreate it again soon!
This rainbow rice tuff spot was a massive hit with M. She loves rainbows and was so excited to watch me dyeing the rice (I used gel food colouring) the day before and asking lots (and lots, and lots) of questions about what we were going to be doing. Both girls enjoyed this activity, and we saved most of the rice to play with another time.
This tuff spot based on the Julia Donaldson book, Tiddler, was a real hit with M, especially. I dyed the pink and purple rice using gel food colouring, as well as using some leftover rainbow rice from a previous activity, for the seaweed. Lots of pouring fun to be had!
This tuff tray is a little different as it involves drink, rather than food. I created this afternoon tea tuff tray as M was really enjoying the story, The Tiger Who Came To Tea*. I scoured the charity shops for some child-sized teapots and used fruit teas to create amazing smells as well as colours. The girls had a wonderful, if soggy, afternoon in the tuff tray!
I set up this lavender rice tuff spot for the girls recently as I wanted to give M the opportunity to practise her letter writing skills. I recycled rice that we’d played with many times before, by adding some lavender from the garden. It created a bit of a novelty factor for M, as well as creating a different sensory experience for the girls.
This zoo tuff spot that I designed to go alongside the book, Dear Zoo*, is a slight cheat in that it does use quite a few other materials as well as food. In addition to rice and various coloured lentils, I also used jenga blocks, artificial grass and cotton wool balls to create the different animal enclosures.
At the other end of the scale, I reused some of the lentils from the zoo tuff spot to create this really simple dinosaur tuff tray. I have this piece of artificial grass already cut to size, so I simply laid it in the tuff spot and added some of the lentils and some model trees to create dinosaur habitats. I then threw in some toy dinosaurs and let M play. Tuff spots don’t have to be complicated, to be fun!
I’m very mindful of sustainability at the moment and I’m aware that some people may consider using food for play as a waste. However, most of the time, any food-based tuff tray activity that I create involves using dry food products such as rice, lentils and cereals, and I collect up the majority of the food at the end of the activity, so that it can be played with again and again.
I hope you enjoyed my ideas – if you did, then don’t forget to Pin this post so that someone else can find it!
*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.