When I found out about International Goat Day Blog Hop hosted by Witty Hoots I instantly knew that I wanted to do a Tuff Spot based on ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’. My class love traditional tales and we have done several Tuff Trays in the past on this theme such as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, ‘The Gingerbread Man’, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and ‘The Three Little Pigs’. I knew this tray would be a big hit as the children know this story very well. They enjoy acting out the story during our outdoor learning sessions and know the repeated refrain ‘Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?’ very well. Also Tuff Spots based on familiar stories seem to engage the children for longer periods. We always get great narrative with the traditional tale trays.
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I wanted to make a fairly simple tray as the children would have a shorter time to access this due to the beginning of swimming lessons at school. This meant I wanted something I could put together fairly quickly.
I started off by dying a large batch of rice green to represent the green, green grass. I used gel food dye for this as it gives a more vibrant colour than the liquid dyes. I added some artificial flowers, some real plants and flowers and some wooden logs.
For the opposite side of the bridge I used soil with some artificial grass samples scattered about to give the impression that the goats had eaten most of the grass on this side of the bridge. We have recently had our garden covered with artificial grass so I had lots of offcuts.
For the water I used blue water beads, simply because they are quick to prepare. Simply place in water overnight and they are ready to use. I always reuse the water beads and the children are now very good at sorting out the ‘good’ beads to keep and throwing away the squashed beads. The water beads will shrink in size but you simply place them in water again for them to expand. I then scattered some small pebbles around the water to make it look more like a river. I wanted a rustic looking bridge as I thought the troll wouldn’t have a fancy, uniformed looking bridge. To make this I collected twigs from the garden and snapped them to size. I then hot glued them together. I then used a mixture of fava beans and white beans to mark a path.
I used Schleich figures for the three goats as I love the attention to detail they have. These included the Schleich Domestic Goat, the Schleich Dwarf Goat and the Tadjik Markhor. I didn’t have a troll figure so I used a Happyland alien.
The children enjoyed this tray immensely and asked to have it again. Next time I am going to extend this by adding building materials so that they can make their own bridges.
Check out these other goat inspired activities to celebrate International Goat Day:
DIY $5 Milking Stand And How To Milk A Goat Video from The Usual Mayhem
Goat Activity Sensory Play + Goat Books from Kid Minds
Goat Gross Motor Play Ideas from Peakle Pie
Sarah is an Early Years teacher working in an international school in Cairo. She discovered small world tuff trays whilst pregnant with her second son Hamish. Since then she has regularly created them for her older son Findlay and also makes two or three a week for her nursery class.