Fun Kids' Birthday Parties

Your guide to throw age-appropriate home-made fun kids’ birthday parties​

Fluffy birthday cake play: Tuff tray for Preschoolers

Does your child enjoy helping out in the kitchen whenever you make a cake? Make their birthday party special and exciting with this tuff tray sensory play activity.

Fluffy birthday cake play turf tray

What is a Tuff tray?

A Tuff tray is essentially a large, shallow plastic tray.Tuff trays allow you to set up small worlds, sensory play, painting, loose parts play and so much more. This is, all while keeping the play contained in the tray. Tuff Trays can also be used to create a visual boundary for the play.

Turf tray

What makes a Tuff tray great for children?

With Tuff trays, children are free to explore and make a mess within boundaries. Usually their height can also be adjusted: from being on the ground to be about a chair’s height or even higher so children can play standing up. The trays being relatively large allows them to feel that freedom. What really makes them awesome to children is what you actually put in the tray. Their possibilities are endless: from sensory play and arts and crafts to science experiments and small world play.

Within the boundaries of the tray, children will experience a range of sensory experiences for all the five senses: sound, smell, taste, sight and touch. These sensory inputs provide children an opportunity to fully immerse in the present moment.

Why are Tuff trays great activities for birthday party celebrations?

Tuff trays are large enough for 3 to 6 children to play simultaneously. They can host solids, liquids, sand,… The mess is contained which is specially important if the birthday party is organized indoors, but still good for outdoors as it makes cleaning up easy. But most importantly kids love them! They touch, get messy and really use all their senses to create imaginative play. They are always one of the most popular activities at the birthday parties I organized.

Tuff trays as well as sensory bins can be used indoors or outdoors making them a versatile option. They are also easy to clean.

Fluffy birthday cake play

In this activity, I used shaving cream and food coloring as the main ingredients to create a pretend icing mixture. The result is a creamy, silky and fluffy experience for the touch and sight. Children will be stunned as they pretend they are little pastry chefs putting cream on birthday cake.

What you will need

  • One Tuff tray (I used 80cm wide x 89cm long x 7cm high)
  • 3 car sponges
  • 3 scrubber sponges
  • 9 biodegradable cellulose sponges
  • 10 silicon cupcake molds
  • 1 chip and dip tray
  • 5 jumbo popsicles or craft sticks
  • 10 birthday candles
  • pom-poms in a variety of colors and sizes
  • pony beads
  • straw beads
  • 2 small wooden scoops
What you need for making the fluffy birthday cake play turf tray

How to make it?

  • Put shaving cream in each of the compartments of your chip and dip tray.
    Making the fluffy birthday cake play turf tray: step 1
  • Add 3 drops of food coloring in each compartment and mix with a popsicle.
    Making the fluffy birthday cake play turf tray: step 2
  • Set up the tuff tray with the sponges, molds, and toppings (pony beads, candles, pom-poms and straw beads). Add the chip and dip tray with the popsicles sticks inside.
  • Let the children play!
Fluffy birthday cake play turf tray in action

My child’s experience

My son was thoroughly delighted by this activity. He transformed into a mini pastry chef, joyfully filling cupcake molds with various colors of ‘icing’ and adorning them with pony beads and candles.

Fluffy birthday cake play turf tray: making cupcakes

He remained engaged for a full 40 minutes. What truly captivated him was his tactile exploration of the shaving cream, as he gleefully spread it across his arms and elbows. He was also captivated by the mesmerizing blend of colors I created, turning the shaving cream into a vibrant rainbow.

Fluffy birthday cake play turf tray: rainbow
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