Babies love to touch, taste and feel everything, it is a given. And while many parents may squirm at the idea of messy play - it’s hugely beneficial for their overall development.
Messy play helps grow independence through play, fosters creativity, enhances their memory skills, improves communication and language, and allows them to learn and develop new tastes, textures and smells. And there are many edible messy play ideas for all ages and abilities, even babies.
So if you’re looking for the perfect hands-on messy play activity for little ones who love to put things in their mouth, here are five fuss-free options perfect for both babies and toddlers.
Wibbly wobbly jelly
Explore all the senses with squishy, sticky and slippery jelly, a firm favourite with babies and toddlers. To create this engaging food-based sensory experience, you will need jelly and an assortment of plastic containers in various shapes and sizes. Simply set some shop-bought jelly the night before and off you go. For an added bonus, you could add some of their favourite waterproof toys and make a jelly rescue game.
Cereal sensory bin
This one takes no effort, and all chances are, you have everything in your home right now. Depending on your tub size, pour some Cheerios (or any cereal for that matter) into a large plastic container and add some spoons, scoops and plastic cups. It really is that simple. If you use Rice Krispies add some water and let them hear it SNAP, CRACKLE and POP.
A little messier than the activities mentioned above, but equally as fun. To create a batch of edible play sand mix eight cups of flour with one cup of sunflower or vegetable oil and mix. You may need to add a little more flour or oil to get the right consistency, but it should look similar to little breadcrumbs, which can be moulded into shapes easily. Enhance their creative play by adding some different-shaped moulds or toy animals.
Unbeknownst to many, homemade food-based paints options are endless and you can create some interesting edible messy play ideas quite simply. For babies, mix plain yoghurt with squished blueberries or strawberries (food colouring can be added too if needed). Toddlers will prefer a recipe of flour, water and a variation of different food colouring created in small batches. Edible paint only lasts a day or two, so start small until you find the right texture for you and your child.
I know it sounds insane, but not only does it taste delicious, playing with whipped cream creates the ultimate sensory experience for little ones and it’s an excellent alternative to shaving foam. Using a can, spray cream in a sensory bin tub and let their imagination run wild with some added small world characters or plastic animals.