Updated: Oct 6, 2019
We were super lucky to to be gifted this awesome giant activity tray from TTS Group, in return we were asked to explore it and take some pictures of what we decided to use it for.
The Pinterest Mum in me was in full throttle, but I knew that we wanted to make the theme Dinosaur related. Arthur has alot of Dinosaurs, he can name more than me! (doesn't take much) The boy is obsessed with the prehistoric creatures, I swear we should have named him Ross (we would of covered 2 out of 6 cast members of friends this way) - I digress.
So Dinosaur swamp/jurassic park theme was what we had gone for. I obviously created a Pinterest board in preparation for the 'build'. I asked Arthur and Phoebe what they wanted to be in it, conkers featured highly. So on this drizzly Saturday, armed with 2 paper bags we went on a nature walk. I think I possibly enjoyed it more than the kids, and surprising they walked well and didn't even moan when it rained. Phoebe likes to recite my phrase 'We aren't made of sugar' every time it drizzles! A parenting win i'd say. We were out for about an hour, picking natures finest leaves, twigs and of course conkers. We possibly picked more than we needed, but they were having so much fun it didn't matter.
A stick! Arthur struggles to pronounce his 's' and they sound more like a D. I will let you work out what that sounds like!
Once we got home, I had to keep the momentum going, the interest was still there (something which 3 year olds seem to run out of very quickly). The giant activity tray was the perfect swamp base. First step, remove the dinosaurs that appeared to have already hopped in there.
We then added soil. We could of got some out of the garden but we happened to have a bag of topsoil in the shed so it was perfect for this.
Phoebe made friends with a pet worm, yup, she then spent the next hour filling the pot with soil, naming him, (Simon I think his name was) and then she found him a friend, a woodlice, lovely.
We collected a big pile of stones which acted as the wall. Then to add the next ingredients. Sand.
Again, we had a left over pile of play sand, so there was no expense for this. Arthur had the important job of patting down the sand.
Next was the really fun part. Going through all the cool things we had collected and finding them a place in this prehistoric land. The imagination of children is just wonderful, you can't help but get absorbed into their world. We added conkers, leaves, bark and a little bowl to fill with water to make the swamp! If I had really upped my game I would of made slime. There are loads of amazing recipes for slime online, but food dye would of also been good for the water. But I just mixed in some dirt and made it muddy! It kind of just became the bath for the dinosaurs.
So that was that, fully assembled and ready to go. Just add your imagination and you have hours of fun. Ours quickly got cars and helicopters added to it, making it feel very Jurassic Park like, I just needed a miniature Jeff Goldblum to run through the middle of it and it would of been the real deal. A lego character might have to do!
So the grand total cost if you were to buy this activity tray was just £6.99. It was simply a sensory goldmine! I was impressed with the level of interest the kids had with it. Now I need to think of more ideas when they get bored of playing with this. Possibly Space themed! Oooo I like that idea.
Thank you to the TTS Group for this wonderful gift, I highly recommend the tray along with a little effort to make a fun activity for kids any age.
Here's a little video we put together from the day to.
Here are 5 benefits of sensory play taken from Creative Play Uk
1. Sensory play builds nerve connections within the developing brain’s neural pathways, which trigger a child’s inclination for and ability in competing more complex learning tasks
2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction
3. Sensory play aids in developing and enhancing memory functioning
4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
5. Sensory play helps children learn vitally important sensory attributes (Hot, Sticky, dry, cold.
Other idea's for an activity tray.
Image credits - Pinterest