Sometimes the idea of messy play with toddlers is the stuff that fills our nightmares. It's just so MESSY but at the same time, it's so fun. Kids learn so much from messy play and it is a vital part of childhood and child development.
Homemade or store bought, it doesn't really matter. Playdough provides hours of endless fun, creativity and enhances fine motor skills. I also find the squishing and squashing of play dough soothes and calms my kids even on the most stressful of days. We use a variety of shapes, rolling pins and plastic knives when playing with play dough. It helps improve hand-eye coordination.
One for the back garden or bath, well it is in my house - it's rather messy especially with three under the age of four. Dad is always wondering why he never has any shaving foam and this is why. It is a fascinating messy play activity promoting exploration, creativity, and investigation for both babies and toddlers.
It is a lot simpler than you might think and a great hands-on activity for the smallies. Simply add some food colouring to rice and let it dry out completely. I usually make it the day before we play so we are not waiting around for it to try. Serve on a tray with some safe kitchen utensils and let their imagination take them to another world.
Splish, splash, splosh. Water play can be anywhere. In the bath, at the sink or out the back garden - it doesn't have to be at the kitchen table. It's a wonderful sensory experience for children and you could even add a little drop of paint to brighten it up. I give my lots a whisk, sieve, funnel and some plastic cups when we participate in this type of messy play activity. Water play helps with hand-eye coordination through actions like stirring, squirting, pouring, squeezing and scrubbing.
Sand is a great sensory toy for kids. It allows them to explore their sense of touch and discover it's grainy texture. To get this activity started, fill a large basin with sand and another with spoons, toy animals, cars, empty bottles and small bowls. If the idea of sand within the home is too much do it out the back garden. Sand play is excellent for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and promotes creativity and imagination.
This one is an all round winner for hand-eye coordination and enhancing fine motor skills. The best thing about chalk play is that it is mostly outdoor play and washes away with a lashing of rain. A large bucket of jumbo chalk paint can be found in most stores for less than €2 and provides hours of fun.
Do you have an old wooden or plastic kitchen that's almost ready for the bin or maybe a friend has? Ask around because this is without a doubt the one messy play activities we do that gives us hours of uninterrupted play hail, rain or snow. Pop the kitchen out the back garden, give them some old pots and pans and let them do their thing. A little water, muck, grass and gravel and they will make mud pies like you have never seen. It's super messy but it's super fun.