Tuff Spot – Shaving Foam

We got our Tuff Spot at Christmas and have been using it most days.  Ben plays with his Lego on it – which keeps it all in one place and means I’m much less likely to end up with Lego under my sofa!  We’ve used it for creating a whole village with Happy Land people.  We also regularly use it for play doh.

Yesterday we finally got round to using it for a great messy activity that I’ve been wanting to do for a while!

So what do you need?  Not much really!

1. Tuff Spot (This is also know as a “builder’s tray” and I bought ours from Amazon for around £18)

2. Shaving foam (not gel!) – I used Tesco Value foam so its not a break the bank activity!

Tuff Spot and shaving foam

I squirted some of the foam at first to show them what to do – Ben very quickly got involved and basically squirted a whole can out into one big pile.  Chloe found it a bit tricky to squirt hers so I ended up doing it for her – in fairness I was a bit worried she’d end up squirting it in her face!

Squirting shaving foam

I was keen to supervise but not really get involved to start with and just see what they did with it.  Ben got straight in there pushing his hands into the foam and really experiencing the feeling of it on his hands – rubbing it around and up his arms.  He discovered that it made a great noise when he dropped blobs of it back onto the tray and explored clapping his hands to when they were covered in foam.  Chloe was a little nervous to start with but soon got involved.

Sensory exploration

They were both very excited by the experience.  I told them not to worry about getting it on their clothes as we’d just get changed after – this really isn’t an activity to be worrying about keeping clean!!  We managed to keep the foam on the tray for the most part but I can’t say we didn’t end up with plenty on the floor (and the sofa, some shoes, a toy pram . . .)  Luckily it just wipes up easily so took me no time at all to give everything a quick wipe and the floor a wash down.

Exploring shaving foam

While they were playing I talked to them about what they were doing – how it felt, sounded etc.  There’s certainly plenty of opportunities for developing language in this one.

(Apologies for the video being sideways!)

Messy Play

Once they had been playing with the foam for a while I suggested to Ben that he might like to try and write his name. This is a great activity for encouraging mark making as mistakes can so easily be wiped away!  They both enjoyed drawing and making patterns.

Mark Making - Shaving Foam

When they finally decided they’d had enough I whisked them both upstairs for a cheeky mid afternoon bath – which I think was just as exciting as the activity itself (though Chloe was a bit confused and kept asking if they were having a story as she obviously thought it was bed time!)

Clearing up took all of 10 minutes to mop the floor, wipe the bits of foam off the sofa and rinse off the Tuff Spot.  Perfect.

I’m already planning our next messy activity!

Lots of people have asked where our Tuff Spot came from so I thought I’d just add the link in for the one we bought – Tuff Spot from Amazon.  This was the best price I found at the time but it’s worth shopping around!


  1. Jo Nicholson
    February 19, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    They do something similar quite often at my sons nursery and he loves it! I'm still too much of an OCD freak to try this at home, but maybe when it gets a bit warmer and the mess can be done outside I might give it a go!
    Great pictures, looks like your two are having fun xx

    • February 19, 2014 / 8:55 pm

      Yes I think it's definitely easier to "let go" when you can do it outside! I don't blame you! I did have a moment in the middle of it all where I thought "What the hell am I doing?" haha. Worth it though x

  2. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 / 8:54 pm

    Messy play seems to have become popular. I have seen leaflets advertising this locally in various venues :- churches and community centres. Your idea of using shaving foam is new to me.

    Rachel Craig

  3. February 20, 2014 / 5:26 am

    This looks like a lot of fun!

    I am going to have to give this a try!

  4. Emmysmummy
    February 20, 2014 / 9:10 am

    We love shaving foam play and often mix with food colouring and paint the bathroom tiles and themselves while in the bath

  5. February 20, 2014 / 11:36 am

    WOW That looks great and I bet it feels really soft on the hands! Our puppy would try to lick it though lol!

    • February 22, 2014 / 5:31 pm

      I think he'd soon regret that!

  6. February 20, 2014 / 6:43 pm

    This looks like so much fun! Will have to give it a go with my little lady 🙂 We tend to use edible things for messy play, as my girl has a tendency to taste everything!

  7. greatbritishfamily
    February 21, 2014 / 8:18 pm

    This looks like a lot of fun. I want a tuff spot when my daughter is older (need a bigger house first though!). We are just starting out with sensory play in my house (not getting too messy just yet).

  8. February 21, 2014 / 8:20 pm

    What a good idea. I am so going to look into a tuff spot. Great post as always <3

  9. February 21, 2014 / 10:12 pm

    Ahh good memories, little ones love this. Have you tried ublic with them? x

    • February 22, 2014 / 5:30 pm

      Is that the cornflour & water one?

  10. February 22, 2014 / 8:50 am

    I know I mentioned it on twitter, but I had to stop by for the full post. I love this idea!!! I am so going to do this when the weather gets a bit warmer, my son loves loves messy play and his ocd momma needs to really get over the mess and get more involved with things like this. The pictures are adorable. Looks like so much fun was had by ALL!!!! 🙂

  11. Tas D
    February 22, 2014 / 11:42 am

    That looks so much fun I think I'd want to do it myself!

  12. Katie Clark
    February 25, 2014 / 8:13 pm

    This looks like excellent fun – I'm so glad that to know what these tray things are. I keep seeing them on blogs and pictures and thinking that it would be great to have one. Now, I know it's a tuff spot, will be so much easier to find! Thanks for sharing

  13. February 25, 2014 / 8:49 pm

    Ah I love tuff spot trays! you can put almost anything in them to create all sorts of play scenarios! they looked like they had a fab time! xx

  14. Danni
    February 26, 2014 / 11:47 pm

    I've just been chatting about messy play today and how we have never done it! Once little miss arrives, we so need to have a messy play date! (followed by coffee of course!!)

  15. July 24, 2014 / 6:55 pm

    suach a great idea – definitely need to try this with my little one – maybe at grandmas.

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