Our first messy play day!

Following Jennie from Edspire’s recommendation to buy a tuff spot (a cement mixing tray) to be used for children’s messy play I ordered one so we can join in with, ‘Messy Play- A Little Legacy Of Matilda Mae’ every Saturday. The tuff spot arrived last night- just in time.

I’ve been quite excited all week, awaiting instruction on how to go about being a part of my first ever blog linky! So here we go…

First, we had to of course tidy to playroom! It was an absolute tip and we had no space for the tuff spot. My husband and I joined forces and began re stacking toys, sorting Duplo and rearranging the foam flooring! Finally it was finished and we placed the tuff spot in the middle of the room, ready for today’s messy play.


I had had some ideas about what to put in the tuff spot- but because it was Gabriel who was going to playing with it, I took him to the Supermarket and let him choose what he wanted to put inside. Of course, at twenty one months old he really didn’t know what was going to happen with all the items but we had fun picking the items anyway!

We bought four bags of rice, a packet of cannelloni tubes, a huge bag of ice, some porridge oats, a box of sugar cubes, some glitter and a box of shredded cereal.

Once at home I coloured the rice into four colours to make it more fun looking. I added a flavour to each colour. I made the yellow rice vanilla scented and added gold glitter to make it look pretty and sparkly, the orange rice lemon scented, the red rice was strawberry scented and for the blue rice I mixed in some dried lavender. They all smelt amazing.


I wasn’t quite sure how to decorate the tuff spot. I’d seen pictures online of seaside scenes, gardens and castles etc but as Gabriel is still quite young and this type of play is relatively new to us I thought it best I keep things simple.

So I just put the ‘ingredients’ in the tuff spot in piles, adding the odd cannelloni tube here and there.. I placed a tray of ice cubes in the middle so they would be the last thing (and most exciting thing) Gabriel found. Simple but I thought it looked quite fun! (and smelt divine!)

Next I gathered a selection of toys I though Gabriel might want to play with in the tuff spot. I chose Lego animals and people, trucks and cars and also plastic cutlery, plates and pans etc.







When Gabriel came into the room he looked very intrigued about what I’d set up for him! He immediately came to inspect the tuff spot!

He began by touching the rice with his hands. He sieved the porridge oats through his fingers and giggled away. At first I don’t think he realised he was able to mix the rice colours up, or mix the porridge with the rice etc, but after a bit of gentle encouragement Gabriel began to throw the rice about, splashing and banging his toy plates and even throwing some at Daddy and I!

We all laughed so much as we played it was wonderful. Baby Willow sat with Daddy while he showed Gabriel how to fill the cannelloni tubes up with coloured rice and blow it out from one side! We also filled cups and pans up with the rice then had fun tipping it into different receptacles.

Gabriel tried to drive one of his toy Police cars through the tuff spot, making the noise, ‘Ne nor ne nor’ but realise quickly it was hard work because the ground was too bumpy!
I showed Gabriel how to make a clear ‘terrain’ for the car but moving the rice and oats with my hands. Gabriel copied me and loved shifting the ingredients about!

Daddy pretended to eat the coloured rice from his plate and pans, letting Willow pretend too. She liked to try grab the rice, and opened her mouth ready to taste it! She seemed to love the smell too. Maybe she’s getting ready for weaning, she seems more and more interested in food, I just can’t believe how fast she is growing.

I started to make a face in the tuff spot with the different colours. Gabriel giggled away once he saw the finished article!


We then pretended to build house with the sugar cubes. I counted them in fives, so we could practice our counting. Gabriel joined in, ‘..one..two…tree.. five’ He is so adorable!






I noticed that Gabriel hadn’t gone near the ice, so I took a toy car and piled it high with ice for Gabriel to play with. He did not like it! He shouted, ‘no no no’ and poured the ice out. He turned his whole body away from it in fact! Whether it was the shock of the coldness or the fact that he hates ice I don’t know! But either way his cries told me to move it away from him! Maybe we’ll try that another time.

In order to distract away from Gabriel’s icy meltdown (excuse the pun) I picked him up and held him upside down over the tuff spot. He loves being upside down and actively asks for us to do it. We say that the ‘Upside down man’ is coming, chase him and then flip him over. It’s his latest craze, which suits us because it is a great distraction technique especially in the middle of a tantrum! He giggles and laughs so much. Once over the tuff spot he tried to grab the rainbow rice, and throw some at Daddy and Willow. The ice was soon forgotten.






We had a great few hours. I’m really not very creative but having different materials and actually sitting down to play with Gabriel made me have no choice BUT to have a go. I have to admit, I had a great time! I think Daddy enjoyed the time sitting down as a Family as much as the play. He said it was so interesting and funny to see Gabriel’s reaction to so many new things at once, seeing him be cautious, then explore, then using his imagination and finally, playing.

Today I’ve learnt that Gabriel does not like (at the moment) using ice to play with! I’ve learnt that Willow likes to use her sense of smell to explore and likes yellow vanilla smelling rice the best. I’ve learnt that Daddy loves Lego more than Gabriel does, and that I actually don’t mind the playroom getting so messy when the babies have such big smiles on their faces. We’re already looking forward to next week.


Messy Play



  1. ellieallatsea says

    Looks like you all had a lovely time! I love the idea of the scented Rice. I think this would work really well for my little girl, who is only 16 months x

  2. says

    That is the prettiest Tuff Spot I have ever seen. I am absolutely going to steal this idea. Tomorrow I am going to take Esther and William shopping for messy play ingredients. What a great idea to get them to choose things themselves. I am then going to get them to help me colour the rice and we are going to recreate your play. That is what this linky is all about. Sharing inspiration and ideas. Thank you so much for sharing yours. Your family is beautiful and I love the way you write x x x x x I think Matilda would have liked getting to know Willow x

    • says

      Thank you for taking the time to reply in such a lovely way Jennie, that means a lot, and Thank you also for creating such a wonderful linky. I think Willow would of loved Matida Mae too. I will make sure she is aware of Matilda’s legacy as she grows up xx

  3. ghostwritermummy says

    How wonderful! I totally agree that letting them choose the messy play ingredients is a great idea! Looks like you all had fun and I love that!

  4. says

    That looks awesome! And I am v jealous of your beautiful play room! Lol ;) I never have the guys for messy play – I so need to get over my fear of destroying my home ;) u have inspired me to sort it out this year :)))) x

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