A Potion Station on the Tuff Tray is such a fun and educational activity for your kids.
My two (aged 5 and 7 years) love it, and it is ridiculously easy to set up and clean up afterward.
I love that this activity uses things I already have in my house, so it’s a great last-minute activity.
It can be done inside, but I prefer doing this one outside in the summer so I don’t have to worry about the mess!
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What you need to Make a Potion Station on your Tuff Tray
Firstly, you’ll need a Tuff Tray
If you haven’t already got a Tuff Tray, then you can grab the one we have from Amazon UK here. They are so affordable and we use ours almost every day, meaning it is honestly one of the best things that I have bought for my kids. If they won’t deliver to your country, a big tray like this one from Amazon is a good alternative.
Containers for the potions
We used a mixture of cups, some science pots (that we had from a set we got ages ago), a jug, a sturdy glass flower vase, and some little medicine cups we had.
If you don’t have any, you can pick up interestingly shaped glass vases that look like potion jars and cute little jugs or cups with little spoons from most thrift stores.
The obvious thing to use here is food colouring. However, we only had yellow and green food colouring when I made this potion station for my kids.
So, I used purple and red paint to create the other 2 coloured waters.
It made it a bit darker and not as see-through as the food coloring made it, but that didn’t matter.
I will probably continue to use paint in the future as we don’t generally stock lots of different colors of food coloring. Paint is more convenient for us.
Mixing your potions is a big part of the fun, so the more interesting things you can find to mix with the better.
We had some tiny little spoons, some funny-shaped kids spoons, and some little syringes that you commonly get with over-the-counter kids’ medicine. This helped make it feel more like science for the kids.
Items to add to the potions
We chose glitter to make it sparkly. This was probably the thing my kids loved the best!
It made the potions look really pretty and they loved mixing it, seeing the glitter spread all the way through the potion, and then watching as it all floated back to the top to settle.
We also used flower petals from daisies that we found in the garden.
You could use a whole assortment of different flower petals, grass, mud, small pebbles, shells, and seeds. We plan to use different items each time we do the activity to mix it up and keep it interesting.
I’m also thinking about adding small cubes of ice to it next time.
You could add items from your craft drawer too. Things like pom poms, sequins, and googly eyes would work well.
How to set up your Potion Station
Where we Set Up our Potion Station
We prefer to set up our potion station on a Tuff Tray for easy clean up and containment of the mess. This activity can get very messy and allowing all the colors to mix on the tray in a giant puddle at the end of the activity is part of the fun!
Using a Tuff Tray means this activity can be done inside during the winter with limited mess and clean up.
However, if it is Summer, then I highly recommend doing this activity outside!
It’s less messy to clean up, but also allows kids to be creative and use natural items that they see around them to add to their potions. Flowers, grass, mud, and pebbles are all there for them to select.
When to Set Up your Potion Station
This is a great weekend or holiday activity.
I plan on using this one a lot over the long summer break with my kids.
They were really interested in it and it held their attention for a long time.
It’s also great to keep their brains working and developing while they’re off school for so long.
I’ve also set this up during the summer months as a before-school activity, which has been fun for them to do before school (they wake up early!)
Setting it up
Setting up this Tuff Tray Potion Station is the easiest thing ever.
I just got out the cups, jug, medicine cups, syringes, and spoons, and popped them on the tuff tray.
I added some coloured water (using either food colouring or kids’ paint to colour it) and added some flower petals and glitter to the tuff tray.
And that was it. Ready for the kids!
Why You’ll Love Creating a Potion Station
- It’s super fun to play scientists and experiment.
- It keeps the kids happy for a good while.
- You can mix and match items for it, to keep it fresh so it’s different each time you set it up.
- It’s so quick and easy to set up.
- It’s a frugal activity that uses cheap items
- It’s a great last-minute activity as it uses items we already have
- It’s a STEM activity (I love getting my kids interested and engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, whenever possible)
- It is great fine motor skills practice – pouring, mixing, using a syringe
- It’s great for imaginative play
- It’s a great independent play activity
Different Types of Potions You Can Make on Your Tuff Tray
Paint Potions on the Tuff Tray
My kids (aged 5 and 7 years) loved this Paint Potion Station Tuff Tray.
It has a science experiment feel to it, with the safety glasses and the containers I found.
You can find containers similar to these, and test tubes, on amazon.
My little ones just loved mixing the paints with water and experimenting with the different colours. They added the glitter and watched whether it sunk to the bottom, mixed in, or floated to the top.
I gave them a handful of little pom poms and some sequins to mix in to, so the potions were bright and colourful.
This was also a great way to use up the last bits of paint, before getting new paint out!
If you’re interested in more painting ideas for your Tuff Tray take a look at, Painting Tuff tray Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers : Fun and Easy Activities.
Spring Nature Potion Tuff Tray Idea
This one is so pretty!
I love getting the tuff tray outside on a sunny day for some messy sensory play in the garden!
I used paint to colour the water, but you could use food colouring too. Then I added some pretty flower petals in the different bowls and a cute vase of flowers and that was it. Prep done.
My daughter loved playing with this and creating pretty flower potions.
These are great for Valentines day love potions, fairy potions, or nature potions.
Valentine’s Potions on the Tuff Tray
This is a nice, easy, indoor Potion Station to set up to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your little one.
It’s just a big bowl of water, with a soup ladle, some small coloured bowls to serve the potion into, and a selection of pink, red, and white pom poms and feathers.
Making a Potion Station
I hope reading this has inspired you to make your own potion station with your kids.
It is such a fun, easy and interesting activity, and your kids can learn so much from it.
Why not, give it a try right now and see what they think?
Alternatively, save this idea ready for when you need it, and check out some more Tuff Tray Ideas while you’re here!