Pondering Playtime // Autumn Exploration Tuff Spot

October 18, 2019

Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my weekly series where I share a favourite craft or play activity to go with it. This week, I’ve set up this Autumn exploration tuff spot.

Autumn exploration tuff spot. M places leaves on top of sticks in a blue tuff spot.

Autumn Exploration Tuff Spot – Set Up

Autumn exploration set up - a bird's eye view of the tuff spot. Clockwise from top right: A pumpkin, a collection of sticks, some oak leaves attached to twigs, more sticks, a collection of brown leaves. Sweet chestnut leaves, cases and nuts are in the centre.

For this tuff spot, I took my one year old for a little walk after we’d dropped off her older sister at preschool, earlier in the week. I collected various leaves, twigs and sweet chestnut shells. We already had our pumpkin from our pumpkin picking expedition last week.

I let all of the things that I’d collected dry out for a couple of days, then put them into the tuff spot for the girls to explore. While they were looking at the different items in the tuff spot, I used open, unfinished sentences to help my three year old to develop her vocabulary. For example, I crunched the leaves and said, “ooh, these leaves sound really…” leaving her to reply, “crackly!”

M and B look at Autumn nature items in the tuff spot.

You will need:

Autumn Exploration Tuff Spot – What M thought

The girls both enjoyed the sensory aspect of the tuff spot. They started by touching all of the different materials and we talked about how we could describe them.

Then M decided that she wanted to make a ‘nest’ out of the twigs, so we arranged them in a crisscross pattern together. We then noticed that one of the sticks had a little nobbly bit that looked like a ‘nose’, so we made it into a stick man, which M enjoyed adding ‘clothes’ to.

Lastly, we arranged the twigs into the shape of an M, and M used her finger to trace the letter.

B enjoyed scrunching the leaves and examining the sweet chestnut shells, constantly holding things up and exclaiming, “look!” So much fun to be had from nature!

B sits in the tuff spot and reaches out for a sweet chestnut case.
M places a twig on top of a crisscrossed pile of twigs.
M uses her finger to trace the shape of the letter M, made out of twigs.
M places a leave onto some sticks arranged as a stick man with a sweet chestnut case hat.


If you enjoyed this, you can find more Pondering Playtime activities here, and you might like to join my Early Years craft and activity Facebook group; Play Craft, Explore. We’d love to have you! And lastly, don’t forget to Pin it!


Autumn Exploration tuff spot.

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