Pondering Playtime // Alphabet Rice Tuff Spot

September 20, 2019

Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my fortnightly series where I share an EYFS play and learning activity to go with it. This week, I’ve chosen to do a sensory alphabet tuff tray activity, to help my three year old with her letter recognition.

Alphabet Rice Tuff Spot – The Set Up

For this activity, I reused the lavender rice that we used for our previous mark making tuff spot activity, earlier in the year. Then, I added in our collection of magnetic letters and let the girls play. We quickly realised that we would need something for the letters to ‘stick’ to, so I used the toy baking tray out of the girls’ play kitchen.

M immediately then seized on the idea of implementing her play pots, pans and utensils, so we put those in the tuff spot as well.

You will need:

Alphabet Rice Tuff Spot – What the girls thought

It was really interesting to see how the girls responded differently to this tuff spot. Obviously it was mainly focused at M, my three year old, and helping her to recognise her letters. However, she was mostly interested in making a ‘pie’ with the rice and letters in one of her play saucepans.

B, on the other hand, was really interested in knowing the sounds that go with the letters, despite only being 18 months old. She held up letters to me and said ‘mmmm?’ (we have been working on M recognising the letters and sounds in her name), waited for me to tell her the correct sound for the letter she was holding, and then repeating it.

Despite giving the impression that she wasn’t interested, M surprised me on several occasions. When B held up the letter Y, for example, she said, “y is for yoyo!” and did similar for other letters, so she must have been paying some attention! She also enjoyed recognising her name spelt out on the baking tin.

Of course there was also the sensory element to this tuff spot. Both girls enjoyed sprinkling the rice and filling and emptying the pots and pans. As M’s letter recognition and mark making progresses, we’ll use the rice to practice writing letters, using a finger or a paintbrush.


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!


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