I just love messy, sensory play…I love to watch the toddler twosome explore with paint and other mediums and have fun in their own individual way. The wonderful thing about these sorts of activities is that they allow a toddler to really investigate and be free to play with a medium any way they want to!
Although it might look like they are just making a mess they are in fact developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills…using their senses and perhaps having their first dive into the world of texture and imagination!
I think the key to being able to enjoy setting up messy, sensory experiences for toddlers and watching them explore and ‘work' with those activities is all in the preparation and the environment you choose to do the activity.
For me, what I have found works with 2 very active twins who like to play in different ways (and usually different directions!) is doing the really messy activities outside and also using washable, edible paints. I don't often paint with kid's acrylics as even though they say ‘washable' on the tube they very rarely come out of clothes or furnishings. I don't like to restrict the girls by fussing around with aprons (and let's face it, it is just another thing to wash!) and redirecting them constantly so I make my own Cornflour Paint Base and then just add some edicol vegetable powder dye or a few drops of food colouring.
The colours are still lovely and bright but they wash out of everything and therefore….I don't stress! I make some base up at the beginning of the week and then just bring it out to colour as needed, I sometimes add a little glue if we are doing a collage type activity which requires a little more stick!
Regular readers will probably know that I also use watercolours (water plus the powder dye) a lot and the girls are often multicoloured but it always washes out of their (and mine…why do I always end up with a handprint on my behind?) clothes and they are clean after an extra soak in the tub that night!
The other factor that keeps me stress free is doing most of our messy play activities outside. We have a few little spool tables set up around the yard and I make sure to take some towels and a bucket of water up to the yard with me. I let them wander and paint and keep coming back to the activity as they want and then when it is time for inside we just have a quick wash…or if really messy I just strip them off and then change them inside. Dump all the clothes in with the next load of washing (and trust me…there is always one ready to go!!!) and we are good to go. I head back outside to do any further clean up once the toddler twosome go down for their nap.
I know messy play isn't for everyone and that is certainly ok….but perhaps by trying some of the ideas above the process may prove a little more fun and a little less stressful (for you)! Some of the activities we do are pretty therapeutic for Mum too…ahhh the feel of slime slipping and squelching through your fingers on a sunny day…..
I've made a list of what I think are our easiest messy activities that the toddler twosome have really enjoyed and that didn't take a whole lot of preparation, clean up or stress on my behalf.
I hope you find some inspiration and perhaps give one a try! I'd love to hear your opinions on messy play and any of your favourites too!
Learn with Play has some fun with Gooey Flour and plastic bags…..I know you are intrigued now…such an easy activity but so many learning opportunities!!!
My Little Bookcase shares her very own Science Lab messy play activities which cleverly tie in with the story ‘Monstersaurus'
At home with Ali shares some fantastic ideas for Summer Messy Play in her post…..and with some gorgeous pics of her kids having so much fun getting messy you can't not take a peek!!!
Happy Whimsical Hearts shows us how to make some Dinosaur Mud Cakes fresh from the garden…even the dog gets to share the fun!!
If you are on Pinterest why not drop by the Aussie Kid Blogger Network board to see what other fun activities our Aussie kids get up to!
If you have a toddler you might enjoy a peek at my A Toddler's World board..lots of fun activities and ideas to try for younger toddlers there!
So many wonderful ideas here. Bring on the Melbourne sunshine so I can get my little one outside and messy 🙂
Thanks for including our link too 🙂
Great post!! I can’t wait to check out your cornflour base paint, my girls go through paint at the rate of knots. We do use aprons but sometimes I wonder why I bother as it gets all over clothes anyway! Thanks for including us too.
Love this post, messy is definitely the most fun way to play! Going to try the squirt bottle painting with my two next week, looks like a great sensory activity.
andie jaye says
definite fun in every single one of these! the messier, the better!
Jode you are always inspiring:) I totally agree with you that taking these activities outside is better for you and for them. There is less stress letting the mess go on the grass. I used to do it with my older one a lot, took her table outside and gave her some goo to play with. I think if I did these things inside I would stress a LOT. Messy play is so much fun with toddlers though isn’t it:) xx
Twins Squared says
Yes I generally stay away from the messy play, but you are right – when the kids want to do something that can get messy we haul it outside and set up trays to work on. I like the bubble wrap finger painting. Cute!
Outside is the way to go i think…i’m not so brave inside with a twin running either way lol!
Jode this is why I love to visit your blog. You show such imagination with your children’s play. You cope in a really successful way with any mess that evolves from this sort of play. Your little ones benefit so much from this freedom. You are doing a wonderful job.
Thank you Jean…you leave the nicest comments x
Good thing this was outside! Looks way fun, I’m a new follower and am excited to see more of your great ideas. Would love if you followed back at http://www.iheartpears.blogspot.com
Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories says
We love messy play. You have a great list here! Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase. 🙂
Rhianna @ The Other Baby Book says
I actually just pinned this post to Pinterest the other day, haha! (Here from the Tuesday Tots link-up!) I love many of these ideas–especially the bubble wrap fingerpainting!
Debra Seiling says
I especially like the colored spaghetti activity. What a fun way for a child to explore their senses and art at the same time. Thanks! Debbie Seiling http://bible-passages.blogspot.com and http://christian-overeaters.blogspot.com
Great collection of messy fun! Love it!
Great collection of messy fun! Thanks for sharing this!
I love sensory play as well. thanks for sharing your ideas I love the finger painting on bubble wrap genius!