Tuff Spot – O is for Oats

This is an idea I’ve been meaning to try at home for quite some time after seeing it set up in a Year 1 classroom so when Emma from Adventures of Adam invited me to take part her in her Tuff Spot A – Z Challenge  I seized the opportunity for the letter O and knew immediately that today, O is for Oats.

There isn’t much setting up to do with this activity however it could get a bit messy so keep your dustpan and brush or vacuum to hand!  Thankfully with it all being dry ingredients it doesn’t take long to clean up.  The other bonus of a dry Tuff Spot activity is that you can leave it out for your child to go back to whenever they choose – though in this instance that would be easier if you had a Tuff Spot Stand (this is something which is on my wish list at the moment).


  • Tuff Spot (obviously) Of course you could use any sort of large container really
  • Cheap porridge oats
  • Glitter (depending on the age of your child, you might want to consider edible glitter)
  • Assorted containers, funnels and utensils

There’s so much scope for learning with this activity but I was keen to just let the kids explore and see what they came up with rather then limiting the activity with my own preconceived ideas.

From the moment I had put the Tuff Spot out, Amy was in there, exploring the utensils and enjoying the sensation of the oats on her hands and feet.  Ben quickly started to fill containers and told me he was a Scientist making a potion.  We talked as they played, discussing the feeling of the oats, the way they poured, why they wouldn’t fit through the funnels, what they were pretending to do.  Of course I encouraged them to keep the oats in the Tuff Spot but this was definitely a time I was grateful for our fantastic laminate flooring, the oats were everywhere!  This was Amy’s first real “Messy Play” activity (a downside to her missing out on the early Nursery care that the older two had when I was working full time).  She absolutely loved it and remained focused on the activity for quite some time.  I loved that this was an activity that both Ben (5) and Amy (16mo) could really get involved in together.  (Chloe did come and play for a bit but she wasn’t as interested as the other two!)

Tuff Spot Oats prep
oats and glitter tuff spot
toddler investigating funnel
kids playing in tuff spot with oats
pushing oats through a funnel on tuff spot
mixing oats in a pan - tuff spot
pretending to eat Tuff Spot oats
toddler with big spoon in mouth
porridge oats tuff spot

With my teacher head on, these are just some of the skills & learning which this Tuff Spot activity addresses:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Capacity
  • Pouring & measuring
  • Mark making
  • Hand eye co-ordination
  • Problem solving
  • Concentration
  • Sensory exploration
  • Imaginative play
  • Opportunities for talk

So oats were a definite winner in our house and one we’ll certainly be trying again!


  1. March 27, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    I really wouldn't mind a go at that myself, it looks so much messy fun!

    • March 28, 2015 / 6:51 pm

      It really feels lovely on your hands 😀 x

  2. March 28, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    Haha, looks like the kids had a brilliant time, your daughter with the spoon in her mouth made me chuckle 🙂

  3. March 28, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    Thought I would pop by after our chat on Twitter (mainly because I am nosey!!) this looks great fun. x

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