Welcome to week 3 of Less Toys. More Play. series! We have covered a lot last week: from pretend play food to real kitchen play, from playing without commercial toys to playing with their favorite toys, from involving kids to toy purge to spending quality time with them.
Today we are having in guests Nicola from Multicraftingmummy who will share with us 10 of their favorite tuff tray filler ideas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with tuff tray, it’s a large shallow plastic tray that can contain much of the mess created by kids during playtime.
Read on to see all Nicola’s suggestions…
When my sons are in school their little sister is left behind to spend the morning at home with only myself to amuse her most mornings. We do spend a lot of time playing together and doing arts and crafts activities, but there does come a time when I need to get a few chores done around the house. To encourage her to play independently, whilst I do some jobs around her, I have started to select a small number of toys or activities for her to do sat inside a tuff tray. We are very lucky to have a separate playroom at home to keep all of our toys in the one space, but when Bella is home alone she can find it a bit daunting to choose what to play with. She will just flit from one thing to the next and get bored very quickly. Selecting just a few items at time for her to focus on is really helping her to play independently for longer. This is allowing me to get more chores down in the morning, leaving the afternoons free for us all to have fun together when the boys arrive home from school.
Here are our Top 10 Tuff Tray Fillers to encourage independent play in Toddlers
- Mix up some moon sand using the basic recipe of 8 cups of flour to 1 cup of baby oil and place this into the centre of the tuff tray. Then add in a couple of cars or diggers. You little one can enjoy driving through the sand, whilst you drive the hoover around.
- Place a large container filled with warm bubbly water into the centre of the tuff tray and throw in a funnel, a jug and a cup. You can then get on with washing the dishes whilst your toddler messes around in their own bowl of water.
- Select a couple of your son or daughter’s favourite soft toys and lay a blanket inside the tuff tray. Then settle them down for a “Pretend Picnic,” whilst you prepare the lunch.
- You can then use the same soft toy after lunch whilst you sweep the floors, but this time add in a long piece of fabric and a spoon to encourage a game of “Pretend Doctors.”
- Cover your tuff tray with a dark coloured sheet or blanket and chuck in some cushions and a couple of dinosaurs. Then leave your toddler to play in “Dinosaur Land,” whilst you sort the laundry.
- Empty a box of cereal into your tuff tray and add in a few small farm animals. Let your child stomp and crunch around with them on “The Farm” whilst you make your shopping list.
- Keep it very simple and just give your toddler a toy car to race around the tuff tray, whilst you race around with the duster.
- Set your toddler off with a threading activity and then catch up on some paperwork.
- Add in a small tub of play dough and a rolling pin and cutter and let them “Bake” cookies for you, whilst you do some cooking of your own.
- Tip some building bricks into the tray. Ask them to build you a “house” whilst you try and sneak in a cup of tea!
My name is Nicola Simpson and you can find me over at http://www.multicraftingmummy.com, where I share my own arts, crafts and messy play ideas, which I do at home with my three children, aged 2, 5 and 7.
You can find me and connect Pinterest and Instagram.
Several additional play ideas by Multicraftingmummy you should read:
Fine Motor Fishing in Waterbeads
How to make Playdough Snowmen
A little bit of imagination and a lot of pink paint!
All 24 articles we will be sharing during February have been written by a number of prominent family friendly bloggers (some educators, all parents). These articles will be collected and you will find them on our page Less Toys. More Play.