I know it’s beneficial, but messy play sometimes freaks me out. I don’t like mess or disorder, and the thought of spaghetti lying on the floor, bits of dough everywhere, and finger paint marks makes me a bit uncomfortable. BUT, the experts say I should be embracing it, which means I need to get over myself, and haul out the cloths and wipes.
Messy play is not only huge fun for kids, but it also fosters creativity, encourages cognitive development and language, promotes physical development, and teaches kids to play independently.
Here are some messy play ideas from Krayons skincare range. Use them to start off your journey of messy play (as in my case), or add them to your current activities.
- Sensory Rice
Take a cup of jasmine rice and add one teaspoon of food colouring. Mix together until the rice is completely coloured, then lay it out on a paper towel in the sun to dry. Prepare several cups of rice in different colours to make rainbow rice! Kids love to pour the rice from a jug into cups, down a small toy slide, or just feel the textures with the tips of their fingers.
- Squishy bags of colour
Collect 1 cup of flour, 6 tablespoons of water and food colouring. Put the flour in a bowl and add the food colouring, and then the water. Mix together well before spooning into a Zip-lock bag (22cm x 22cm). You can also add glitter, laminated shapes or letters before sealing the bag. Remember to lay the bag flat and press out any air before sealing the zip-lock bag and double securing with sticky tape. Kids love to manipulate the bags, feel the sensation in their hands, watch how the liquid can be manipulated and even carve gentle shapes into the squish while the bag lies flat on a surface.
- Shaving cream
This is the simplest of the ideas, but can be the most fun. Find a large window or glass door in your house and squirt shaving foam in fun shapes on the glass surface. Encourage your little one to get stuck in with bare hands and ‘paint’ the surface with the foam. Let them really get into it – shmooshing and spreading it this way and that. They can paint letters with their fingers, or just enjoy the sensation of moving it about. A quick once-over with a cloth and your window is good as new afterwards.
We often forget the simple pleasure of rolling a piece of dough under your palm and carving out a shape. Homemade playdough is simple to make and lasts for ages if kept in the fridge. Find a recipe online that suits you and add food colouring and glitter to make it visually stimulating for your toddler. Add a drop of lavender essential oil to give it a beautiful smell.
- Washing up time
No child can resist a bowl of soapy water and a couple of plastic items that they need to ‘clean’. Equip them with a sponge and sit back (with a clear view of your little washer) and watch them have hours of soapy fun (not advisable for those in the Western Cape though).
Instead of washing up liquid, use the Krayons soap bar to create the suds. It’s softer on their skin and will leave their hands moisturised. When they’re done, massage a layer of aqueous cream into their forearms and hands to lock in the moisture for the rest of the day’s activities.