Alternative Messy Play Ideas & Activities

messy play ideas activities

Are you ready for a whole heap of messy fun?

Children just love the feel of gooey gunge and messy hands! Let the children explore their senses and learn in a fun and exciting environment with these alternative messy play ideas and activities for your early years setting.

Messy play is extremely important for a child’s development! You can use messy play to support learning for most educational subjects in the classroom, including literacy and maths. Children learn particularly well through discovery and research shows that messy play helps to enhance communication and language, social and emotional development, fine and gross motor skills and their knowledge of the world.

Sand and Water are extremely popular ways of engaging children in messy play activities, stimulating a child’s tactile and sensory experience. But there are many other creative ways that you can take advantage of messy play in your preschool, nursery, primary school or early years setting!

Inspire children’s creativity and imagination with these fantastic alternative messy play ideas and activities.

Top 5 Messy Play Ideas & Activities

Tuff Tray Madness

Everyone loves a Tuff Tray and there are so many ways that you can explore messy play in a tuff tray!

Have you experimented with foam? Squirt bouncy Crazy Foam into a tuff tray and mix it together with different coloured Food Dyes to create fantastic foam madness. Then let the kids drive tracks and trails through the foam with Miniature World Transport trucks or cars to create colourful decorative patterns for mark making practice – or engage in a small world foam invasion!

Shimmering Slimy Numbers

Kids just love making and playing with squishy and stretchy slime!

Jazz up the traditional slime mixture with Glitter. Mix together water, glue and liquid starch and add in glitter for that extra sparkle! Then get the children to use Number Moulds to imprint numbers into the sparkly slime and add a little twinkle to Maths.

Extreme Play Dough Constructions

Have you thought of mirrors for messy play? Independent early years consultant, Kirstine Beeley, recommends using mirrors to add another exciting dimension to messy play.

Try using a Mirrored Table as a base for messy play, then sculpt imaginative Play Dough constructions on top of the mirrored foundation. Not only will the children be able to explore the world of symmetry, they will be in awe when their creations appear double in height! You could also sprinkle on some Coloured Rice for mark making to enhance their sensory experience further.

Soapy Whisking Fun

Kids love creating monstrous potions and experimenting with different materials!

Have you tested out soap flakes? Try combining Soap Flakes and Food Dye with warm water in a large mixing bowl. Make your concoction colourful with Powder Paints. Then get out those whisks for some swirly patterned fun! You could even bury toy Ocean Animal Figures in the mixture and get the kids to hunt for them with their whisks in the soapy marine.

Snowy Angel Silhouettes

Snow isn’t just for winter! Have you tried snow powder? Children enjoy the texture of fluffy fake snow running through their fingers.

Enter into a snowy mania. Add water to Instant Snow Powder to create fluffy fake snow in a large tuff tray. Then let the little ones make beautiful snow angels in the snow. You could even add in Food Fragrance or Food Dye to heighten the sensory experience even more!

So get those aprons on! It’s time to get messy…

Make sure your children are supervised during messy play.

Essential Messy Play Resources

Make sure you have all the essentials you need to enhance messy play in your preschool, nursery, primary school or early years setting! We stock a fantastic selection of Messy Play Resources and Equipment – ranging from coloured rice, slime, crazy play foam, kinetic sand and play dough to jumbo messy play trays, utensils, pots, pans and more!

messy play resources

We would love to know how you get on! So don’t forget to share your messy pictures with us on our Facebook or Twitter and tell us which activity was your favourite.

For even more exciting messy play ideas, check out these fantastic Sensory Play Activities as well.

References: – Kirstine Beeley, Teach Early Years
www.littlebinsforlittlehands.comSarah McClelland, Little Bins
www.theimaginationtree.comAnna, Imagination Tree

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