It’s a gloomy winter day when the TV is driving you to distraction and the little ones are desperate for something to do…..open your kitchen cupboards and whip up some messy play fun!
Open ended messy and creative play activities can keep children entertained for AGES! Plus all the time they’re playing they’re learning, developing skills, working on language and communication, problem solving…so it’s educational too!
If you’re mess-adverse then there are some “less messy” options in the list below, but it’s also really quite easy to keep mess contained! Try using a long low storage box to keep the play materials contained (like an under bed storage box), pop an old sheet or plastic cloth on the floor and strip the kids down to vests and nappy/pants so they can get well and truly stuck in!
1. Rice Play
This is definitely low mess and so much fun! Coloured with food colouring or just plain, add spoons, pots, pans, colanders….it’s sensory, GREAT for scooping and pouring and measuring and it’s magic stuff that somehow can soothe the most fractious toddler!!
2. Edible Paints
We love using edible paints in our Baby ARTventurers classes…….SO easy to make! You can try finger painting with things like yoghurt or whip (with some food colour added?), mix up a super simple edible paint with flour and warm water and a bit of colouring OR try one of the cornflour paint recipes like this lovely one from The Imagination Tree!
Set out some large sheets of paper (lining paper is cheap and brilliant for this) and let your little artist get making marks and creating masterpieces!
3. Jelly on a Plate!
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble……hide some toys in jelly and let them dig them out! OR use jelly granules with a small amount of water to create a paste – you’ve got jelly paint!!
4. Oats or cereal Play
For those who are mess averse – a box or tray of oats or dry cereal can provide a fab dry play material! Add trucks and diggers and it can become a building site……pour water in too and start mixing up some concrete!
Is it a solid, is it a liquid??….it’s rare to find a child (or adult!) who isn’t fascinated by gloop! Mix it up with cornflour and water – super simple and FABULOUS for Halloween slime with some colour added!
6. Cloud dough
Super soft, mouldable just like sand (but not as gritty!) and SO easy to make…..just grab some flour and add some veg oil……mix with your fingers to achieve a crumbly mouldable texture….now PLAY!
7. Chocolate mud
Just follow the cloud dough instructions above – and chuck in some chocolate powder! Add some plastic pots and a few vegetables and you’ve got your very own veg patch to dig and play with! Kept in a sealed airtight box between play sessions this should keep for quite a while!
8. Spaghetti/pasta play
Brilliant for developing those fine and gross motor skills and pincer grips, playing with spaghetti is always a big hit and it’s so easy to do! Cook until just cooked, drain and stir in some food colour if you want to brighten it up a little…..how much fun?!
Never underestimate the play properties of plain old flour! It’s a snowy scene, it’s a snow storm! It’s great for piling up and knocking down! You can make marks, draw patterns, write your initial….get set GO!
10. Super snow
Ok, so for this one you’re going to be raiding the bathroom cabinet as well as the kitchen cupboard! Cornflour AND shaving foam – mix together and crumble with your hands to create some super snow! This isn’t one for babies who are just going to pile it straight into their mouths but older kids can have hours of fun mixing and playing with this one!
If you’re trying some messy play at home then we’d LOVE to see the photos – post them our social media with #artventurersfun so we can see what your own ARTventurers have been up to!