Messy play is an important part of their development, helping children to learn invaluable life skills.
Did you know? 29% of parents worry their child’s development is negatively affected by TV, games consoles and other technology.
When you’re looking for activities for your children, it is important that parents look for ways to aid growth in terms of physical, communicative, social, intellectual and creative development and messy play can help immensely.
If you’re struggling for ideas on how to keep the children entertained, then take a look at this 30 Day challenge from AO.com for some inspiration. 30 days, 30 fun activities. Get messy for a month with the kids and earn your gold badge.
Ready, set, mess!
- Arty Animals
Roar like a tiger!
Create an elephant stampede! Giggle uncontrollably like a hyena! All these things are possible when you are wearing a handcrafted, animal face mask. Scissors, floppy card, felt tips and some elastic is all you need for your little monkey to be transported to a jungle for the afternoon. Wildlife Watch have some fabulous stencils for you to download and print off.
Take a trip down memory lane, stick your trainers on and indulge in a game of good old fashioned rounders!
Budding Einsteins will love making colourful explosions with bicarbonate of soda, food colouring and vinegar.
- Den Building
Who doesn’t love a den? Come rain or shine dens are the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
- Exploding Rockets
Blast off! Stage your very own exploding rocket launch in the back garden. Kids will love seeing how high the “rocket” flies and how much mess the explosion makes.
- Finger Painting
Raining outside? What better way to keep your kids entertained than by letting them loose on some finger painting masterpieces! We love how Red Ted Art has even thought about edible paint too for those sneaky taste testers.
It’s never too early to inspire green fingers. Gardening is super fun for little ones – especially if you give them their own little corner of the garden where they can choose their own flowers or vegetables to grow.
- Homemade Play Dough
An oldie but a goodie, play dough is the perfect way for kids to go wild with their imagination and create anything from monsters to a three course dinner. Homemade play dough is easy to make and lasts much longer than shop bought stuff. The Imagination Tree has come up with a simple, no-cook and quick recipe that lasts for up to 6 months.
- DIY Waterfall
If there is one things kids love doing on a hot summer’s day it’s getting wet and messy. If you have a fence, a few screws, a hammer and some empty plastic bottles then you are well on your way to building a water wall that will keep your munchkins fascinated for hours.
- Elephant Toothpaste
Elephants teeth are enormous! They must get through an epic amount of toothpaste everyday…or maybe they don’t use regular toothpaste…maybe they have their own, special Elephant Toothpaste?! Fun at Home with the Kids have the perfect recipe for such a thing!
- Collage Making
There is a reason why collages are so brilliant. As long as it sticks to paper then your kids can experiment with all kinds of things to create a fun, crafty hodgepodge. Petal, leaves, glitter and pompoms – the world is their oyster!
Sticky fingers are a given with homemade lollies. Let your kids experiment with flavours until they discover their favourite combination – Frugal Family have some great advice and some recipe inspiration.
- Mud Puddles and Pies
Throw caution to the wind, get your little ones dressed head to toe in some old clothes and get them outside to jump around in mud. Timeless, ridiculous and downright fun, mud puddles and pies are a sure-fire way to put a smile on their faces.
- Nature Walk
Nature walks are so exciting! There’s a whole world of critters and plant life out there for your kids to explore, just head out to your nearest park or woodland and remember to keep a note of anything you spot.
- Obstacle Course
Jump, crawl, wriggle and slide around a homemade obstacle course! Simple Kids has some awesome ideas for how to create the course – you will be surprised at what everyday things you can use for obstacles.
- Polka Dot Slime
Just when you thought slime couldn’t get any better, Fun at Home with the Kids has taken it up a notch with Polka Dot Slime, guaranteed fun for your little rascals and perfect for a rainy day.
- Marble Painting
Who would have thought that the humble marble could be so useful in creating such eye-catching paintings! The Kids Craft Room have come up trumps with their multi-coloured marble painting idea.
- Rainbow Cakes
There’s no denying it. It might be a struggle at times to get your kids to eat their greens but it’s never a struggle to get them to eat psychedelic food. For a special treat, have a messy afternoon baking some rainbow cake! We absolutely love the organic version that Inhabitots have come up with that’s made with natural food dyes.
- Slip and Slide
Summer wouldn’t be summer without a slip and slide. Fun for all ages, kids will not only love sliding around themselves, they will also relish watching mums and dads slipping around slapstick style. Happy Hooligans have a lovely visual guide with all the information you need to recreate your own!
- Treasure Hunt
Shiver me timbers! Your little pirates will be in their element as they solve clues on a homemade treasure hunt. Make the hunt on a larger scale in a local park or keep it cosy indoors on wet weather days. Nuture Store have a super simple and effective way of making a treasure hunt using chalk.
- Water Fights
Prepare to get drenched! Arm your little scamps with water pistols and let them run riot…anything goes in a water fight, just bear in mind that you must let them win! As a more civilised alternative to water fights, we love the water play ideas that Mummy on a Budget has come up with – perfect for a quieter afternoon that is still just as much fun.
- DIY X-Ray
There’s not many little ones who don’t love playing doctor/vet for an afternoon. Making their own X-Rays is a brilliant way of mixing art with role play. One way is by using black paper and white paint, but Red Ted Art have come up with a much easier version which we think the kids will love.
- Homemade Soap
After all of these messy antics, your kids are going to need a good scrub. Why not encourage the big clean up with some beautifully bonkers handmade soap?! Truly Madly Kids have some amazing ideas ranging from glittery heart shapes to hidden joke flies, and ironically, the kids will get just as messy making the soap as they have done on all the other messy activities!
- Painting Plant Pots
Let your little Van Goghs give your tired looking plant pots a new lease of life with some paint and craft accessories. Hobbycraft have some great ideas to inspire you.
- Pancakes for Breakfast
Leave the cereal in the cupboard and get flipping! Making pancakes is just as much fun as eating them. Once the pancakes are flipped and plated, reward your kids with toppings of their choice! Thinly Spread have a brilliant, easy to follow recipe for delicious pancakes.
- Egg Box Bugs
Don’t chuck your egg boxes in the recycling – there are so many ways that you can upcycle them. Kids will love inventing their own new species of buglife!
- Glass Paint
Don’t restrict your little painters to paper, let them loose on a window with The Imagination Tree’s homemade glass paint. It’s easy to make and even easier to clean off afterwards, and what’s more your kids will be so proud of their stained glass creations!
- Papier Mache
There’s something really nostalgic about papier mache. The sheer scope of sculptures you can create and the lengths you can go to on the “painting and decorating” side of things makes for a super exciting rainy day activity. Zingzing Tree has some really useful tips on how to create the paste and some inspiration for your end creations.
- Jam Tarts
Whisk yourself off to Wonderland, hang out with the Mad Hatter and bake some jam tarts. A great way to get your little chef baking and used to the kitchen…and they will love seeing how much you enjoy the fruits of their labour afterwards! Multiple Mummy has a scrummy recipe that is simple enough to follow (but will still need some guidance from an adult for the “hot to touch” bits.)
- Water Gun Painting
Young or old, there is something very appealing about shooting paint at a blank canvas! Definitely an activity for outside, sit back and watch as your little ones create colourful paint explosions! Have a look at Somewhat Simple for some inspiration on how to take this one step further! .