Messy play is a great way to get your little one experiencing new textures and learn to explore new things. I absolutely love taking Stanley to messy play and he always has a great time.
But, as fun as it is, sometimes the classes are expensive and getting up and out the house seems like hard work – especially if you’ve had no sleep. So why not set some messy play up at home? So here’s 10 easy ideas for messy play in the comfort of your own home.
DISCLAIMER – I cannot be held responsible for the chaos and mess in your house, ha! I got some plastic table cloths from Poundland (you get 2 in a pack and they’re huge). I lay them down to protect the carpet a bit and make the clean up a little easier. I use Stanley’s paddling pool for messy play as it helps contain most of it and Stanley can really enjoy it. What I would say is to just try and embrace the mess. If you’re super stressed about the mess though, most of these ideas would work fine in the bath tub and it would contain the mess a lot better.
You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of water with some toys in! Put a jug or funnel in so they can explore by filling things up and tipping the water out. You can also add a bit of food colouring to make the water fun colours.
Dried pasta shapes are great as they can be put into bottles to make shakers which get your little one’s other senses going too. Cooked spaghetti is fab for adding a new texture – and edible messy play always goes down well, ha!
3. Bring the outdoors in
Mud, flowers, leaves twigs etc are all amazing things that little ones just love to play with. Stanley definitely loves playing with mud. We live in a flat so don’t have a garden, but Tesco sell small bags of soil and I got some faux flowers from Poundland which can be reused but also bought a reduced bunch of flowers for him to feel the different textures and feel the petals etc. Twigs and leaves are easy to find in nearby parks – if you have a garden it’s even easier!
Another easy one which can be coloured with food colouring to make it bright and fun. Chuck in some spoons or colanders again and little ones will love it.
This one is super messy and a bit sticky so prepare for that, but its so fun and easy! You can hide some toys in there and it’s just another new, fun texture for your little one.
Rice crispies and Weetabix are great for this. You just need to pour a box into a tray or paddling pool and put some toys or vehicles in there. You could also add some water to change the texture and make an almost ‘buildable’ material – but FYI that’s when it gets messier!! I didn’t have to clean up much after this one because Stanley ate most of it, haha!
Cornflour and water makes a great gloopy, strange texture which is always a hit. It’s so simple to make and again a bit of food colouring makes it even more interesting for your little one. Be aware – this one is SUPER messy and sticky, be prepared and chuck them straight in the bath/shower after hahaha!! It took Stanley a minute to get used to the texture of this one but once he did he was getting well and truly stuck in!
8. Cloud dough
Simply mix flour and add some vegetable oil and voi la! It’s almost like sand but less individual grains so it’s less gritty. It’s soft and can be shaped and crumbled between chubby little fingers! I tried to add colour with normal food colouring, which FYI didn’t work. To get that level of blue took half a bottle of food colouring, ha! Since trying it I’ve seen online that paint powder is perfect to dye it so I’ll be trying that next time!
This could be done on its own or combined with the water messy play. Colour is always great so you could add a drop of food colouring to the water before you freeze it to make multicoloured ice cubes. The texture and temperature is another great thing for little ones to explore! If you’ve got a larger tub, you could also add a toy into the water before freezing – this is particularly good for slightly older children who understand that they can smash up the ice to get to the toy inside!
10. Shaving foam/mouldable soap
Messy, slimy and loads of fun. As always, food colouring could be added too to make a rainbow mess for your little one.
I hope you and your little ones have fun giving some of these messy play ideas a go. If you have a go I’d love you to tag me in your pics over on Instagram! Let me know what you think or some other ideas you do that you love!