Top Tips for Messy Play

  • Messy play doesn’t have to be expensive. Standard kitchen cupboard items such as dried pasta, rice, dried beans and pulses, split peas or porridge oats are an easy way to start on messy play – however, parental supervision will be required. Old wooden spoons, colanders, plastic cups and bowls make great tools to explore these new materials. Older children will enjoy glitter, sequins, scented essential oils or food colouring. Parents who work in an office can use the leftovers from the shredding bin, and hide small objects among the paper.
  • Get more adventurous: cooked and dyed pasta, whipped cream, home-made play dough, shaving foam, gloop (semi-solid mixture of water and cornflour) and slime are all great for messy play. Easy to follow recipes can be found online.
  • Outdoor play is messy play: make mud pies and potions, jump in puddles, collect leaves and plant flowers. Ignore the gardening gloves – let your child feel the world and the earth around them.
  • Theming messy play around holidays or calendar events. Dye dried rice yellow at Easter time, or hide small plastic or chocolate eggs amongst the rice. For a Christmas theme, use red glitter slime, or green and red dyed cooked pasta. Freeze left over beans or pasta in a little water, and let your child engage with colder objects and watch the ice melt.
  • Setting limits: Messy play, as the name suggests, can get messy! Oil clothes are a great way to contain messy play activities. Work with your child to set boundaries. Learning to tolerate and accept limits during messy play can be a fun experience for you both!