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  • Writer's picturePhileas Fox

Messy play ideas

Children LOVE messy play- and there is a good reason for it. Messy play offers invaluable sensory experience and a lot of opportunities for learning. Leading early childhood theorists, such as Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and Jean Piaget agreed that sensory discovery stimulates and develops the brain and it is a preferred method of exploration for young children. At Phileas Fox, we do a lot of messy play, both indoors and outdoors. Here are five activities that you can try with your children at home- and they are not as messy as you think!

1. Mess-free finger painting. Put different colour paint ( or liquid or foam) inside a sealable plastic bag. Children are able to draw and make marks on the surface, keeping hands and surfaces clean. Ask them to draw an object, a face or letters- possibilities are endless!

2. Making gloop. This is a little bit messier, but so much fun. Combine cornflour and water together, mix it and watch it transform from liquid to solid. You can also add food colouring and vary consistency, teaching them about different reactions.

3. Homemade playdough. By combining cornflour and hair conditioner, you can make a very soft (and great smelling) playdough for the little ones to play with, working on their fine motor skills and developing senses.

4. Slime or jelly bath (for toys or children!) There is something about the slime and jelly that all children love. We recommend that you buy slime bath or jelly bath (available on Amazon) and let them play with it in a deep dish, sink or bath! Bonus- fairly easy to clean up after.

5. Go outside! Embrace the weather (and your inner child), put on the wellies and raincoats and discover the outdoors together. Jump into the biggest puddle and splash around, play with the leaves, search for snails and insects, dig in the mud- nature really has endless resources for exploration and learning.


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