Find out more about MESSY PLAY! Why do we do it? How do we do it? What are the benefits and some top secret messy play recipes for different ages

How can I make Messy Play a success at home?


Many parents are put off by messy play, as although the idea of finger painting or crafts sounds fun at first, the reality of paint, glue and glitter getting everywhere, and the inevitable operation clean up that follows it soon sets in. Read our ideas and tips for making messy play a success in your home!



How to make Messy Play a Success

Get outside: the natural world is a playground of textures, smells and sensations, so go find some puddles or autumn leaves to jump in too!

Make the most of mealtimes: with younger children especially, allow them to experience eating in its entirety. Allow them to feel, smell and taste their food to engage all of their senses, then when they are slightly older you can teach them about table manners!

Play in the bath: water is one of the best natural materials to play with so why not add some sponges or empty plastic bottles and give your children an opportunity to play and explore. 

Invest in a sandpit: sand triggers many sensations so let your child dig, pour and make sandcastles until their hearts are content. 

Get creative with the mess: messy play is about the way things feel, so go crazy with ideas. Whether you’re using everyday objects like paint and washing up liquid or investing in materials such as play dough and slime, your children just need to be given the opportunity to play with it and explore it. 

Explore your food cupboards: food provides a great source of exploration and sensory stimulation so hunt for anything you can crunch, mash or manipulate. Dry foods such as cereal and pasta or interesting foods such as mashed potato, baked beans or jelly are perfect!


For more messy activities please take a look at the NHS suggestions! 


Top Tips for Messy Play Success

  1. Get naked: Babies can experience more sensations all over their skin rather than just on their hands and feet. Also, it means there will be less clearing up for you.
  2. Get outside if it is warm enough. There will be less chance of damage to your home!
  3. Do it in the bath. The bath doesn’t even need to have water in it! Makes cleaning up a dream and your child is contained in one place!
  4. Invite some friends. Babies will benefit from the social and emotional benefits here too and everybody knows that because a messy activity takes so long to set up and put away it make sense to reduce the waste and extend the fun by sharing with a friend.


Many studies have shown that messy play is one of the best ways for our children to learn and develop, now is the time to follow our guidance, embrace it and get messy!


You could always come along to an Adventure Babies class where all of the messy activities are safely set up and cleaned away for you!


messy play

Why do we get messy at Adventure Babies?


I often get asked about what the benefits of Messy Play are for Babies… Messy play is always an important part of our Adventure Babies sensory storytelling classes but for many new parents it can seem daunting. Why do we place such an importance on messy play for babies? Why would we want to do something for such a short time that requires so much cleaning up afterwards?


  1. Develops their brains further. So much information is given to their sensory system during these types of activities it really gets the brain working building up many different connections.
  2. Helps their brains get used to experiencing different sensations which is great because that will lead to your baby being happy eating a variety of textures.
  3. Enhances fine motor skills by giving the small muscles in the hands, arms and fingers opportunities to practice new actions. Messy play gives great cause and effect and a chance to practice their hand to eye coordination.
  4. Fosters curiosity, imagination and exploration. There is no right or wrong with exploring messy play giving babies and children a sense of freedom and experimentation.
  5. Improves communication. By describing what you are doing and feeling to your baby this will help them to build their vocabulary be able to communicate their thoughts and feelings better.


There really are so many benefits of messy play to babies and toddlers in their all round development it really is worth taking the plunge and getting involved. It is such a great activity to do at home either in the bath or garden.  Even better come along to our Adventure Babies classes and we will do the cleaning up for you! Have a look at the classes nearest you here  or check out some of our favourite messy pictures here