From jumping in puddles to making mud cakes, messy play – or sensory play – is much-loved by children. As well as being oodles of fun, it also carries learning and development benefits – helping tune youngsters’ fine motor skills, encourage them to express creativity and follow their curiosity.
Our colleague, Charlotte Woods, recently rounded-up some of her favourite activities – that are easy to rustle up at home – and shared them with Lemon-Aid. If you missed the original piece, catch up here…
- Shaving cream sensory tub with Lego® – by Toddler Approved
A sensory guessing game consisting of a large plastic container filled with food-coloured shaving foam and lots of different Lego Duplo® bricks and characters.
Youngsters feel around the foam pit and guess which pieces they’ve picked up, before washing them to see if they were right.
My son, Oscar, loves this and we use foam numbers and letters too!
- Taste safe muddy dinosaur sensory bin – by My Bored Toddler
Toddlers, armed with their plastic dinosaurs, can embark on an adventure in ‘mud’ and have lots of roar-some fun. And as this ‘mud’ is made from water, corn starch and cocoa powder, it offers peace of mind that it’s safe for little hands and mouths.
We also add stones from the garden for the dinosaurs to stomp over – and we sometimes use playdough to make footprints!
- Jelly rescue – by Play Inspired Mum
This is a great way to combine children’s interests with sensory play.
Small multi-coloured, waterproof toys are submerged in jelly, and little ones have to save them using tongs, before placing them in the corresponding colour pot. Improving fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities and vocabulary at the same time.
- Rice and ice – by Learning 4 Kids
This one’s great for learning about primary colour mixing as well as practising rhyming. With two batches of coloured ice cubes, children can watch the rice and water turn a different colour as the ice melts – as well as feel the textural difference between the materials. It also allows for wider learning opportunities around scientific concepts and colour recognition!
- Rainbow spaghetti – by Messy Little Monster
This one involves lots of food-coloured, worm-like spaghetti, which toddlers enjoy squishing and mixing together.
It’s not only a fun activity for learning colours, but it can also be adapted so that objects are hidden in the pasta and children have to find them – giving it a problem-solving element too.
From Angel Delight to beans, I love using food in our tuff tray, so Oscar can explore different textures and tastes!