Messy Play Ideas for Young Children

Messy play is not only extremely fun for young children, but it is also educational. It can aid children’s development in many ways and should be a regular part of their life. If you are wondering how you can start messy play, then there are plenty of ideas.

valentines theme toddler messy play

Just read this piece to find out more, including the benefits it can bring.

Why Should You Give Children Messy Play?

Messy play can be a great activity for your child for many reasons. It can significantly encourage the development of many skills, such as motor skills, problem solving, language, and even emotional skills. It is a very expressive activity.

This is also useful for the many children who like to express themselves by making a mess. Think, going into the forbidden makeup bag and drawing lipstick all over the wall, or somehow smothering themselves head to toe in Sudocrem.

By creating a safe space where they can be as messy as possible with no repercussions, they are free to express themselves and their creative side.

Messy play is also important to help children engage with all of their senses, which can help them understand their environment and the world around them.


Playdough is an age-old classic that has stood the test of time when it comes to creative play. While it can be messy, there are definitely messier options out there, so this might be a good one to start with. Make sure to put a mat down on the floor underneath the table, as playdough that has been trodden into the carpet can be quite difficult to get back out.

Children are able to make all different kinds of things with playdough. Their imagination is their limit. You can get accessories to go with playdough, but finding stuff around the house such as cookie cutters or kids cutlery can also work great for tools. If you do not have any playdough on hand or want to make a cheaper version- flour, water, and food colouring is an excellent substitute that can be found in many food cupboards.

Edible Paint

Children can have hours of fun with paint, and it can be difficult to stop them from putting things in their mouths. So, creating edible paint seems like an excellent solution, as many parents will know it is impossible to stop babies from chewing on anything they get their hands on. You can make your own edible paints in a similar way to making your own playdough and use textures such as yoghurt for something more fluid.

Make sure to invest in a short sleeved weaning bib from Bibado, which can be used for both eating and messy play – or in this case, both at the same time.


 Rice offers all the fun and fluidity of sand without all of the impossible mess of cleaning it up. Yes, cleaning up rice can get tricky, but at least you are able to see every grain of it. This is also a great alternative to water play if you need to play inside.

Our partners