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Messy Play Ideas


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shaving foam, shaving foam with glitter, sawdust, pasta etc added to it

powder paint sprinkled through a sieve onto large paper and bubbles blown onto it (when they burst they make a pattern)

spray bottles filled with very watery paint

plain old finger painting onto the table top or builder's tray


mud pies made from compost sand salt and water (3 cups compost 3 cups sand 1 1/2 cups salt and mix with water)

slime made from soap flakes and warm water, goop made with cornflour and water


you can make anything messy really.....

Hope this helps

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fill rubber gloves with paint tie the top and prick holes in each finger and squeeze :D


fasten big car sponges to feet with elastic bands and stand in trays of paint then walk on large sheets of paper/ outdoors


blindfold art


race runny paint down a piece of paper hanging from a fence or wall. use droppers and say ready steady go


punch holes in a large foil turkey tray with a pencil add paint and working in pairs the children can co operate to move the tray above a piece of paper laid on the ground


hang a large piece of paper on the wall and throw sponge balls soaked in paint at the paper (can also use kooshi balls)


sit in the centre of a large sheet of paper dip chains in paint twirl the chain round to make patterns

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I am really sorry to be boring :oxD but please be aware of possible latex allergy when using 'rubber' gloves, elastic bands and 'kooshi' balls. It can be very nasty for the sufferer!!




PS - Oooh! and Balloons!!

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just wondering marion - painting outside, were you painting directly onto the onto the ground? how easy was it to clean up afterwards??


as for messy play to do with hearing Jo, what about trying shakers I know its not a traditional "messy" activity but there are no limits to what children could put into containers (such as small plastic pop/milk bottles that are water tight)


rather than the ordinary things such as pasta and rice try more unusual items such as ice cubes, or even odds and ends from outside such as leaves, sticks, gravel, and so on......


it can be messy if you start to get adventerous with the different things and theres all kinds of listening and comparing to talk about

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Yes the children used ordinary ready mix paint directly onto the paving in our outdoor area. We actually left it until the first rainy day added wellies child size brooms and soapy water and result a nice clean new surface to use.

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Hi here a few ideas hope they are useful.


Painting with bubble wrap and crinkly celophane.

Crushing rice krispies for collage


Tape one end of the cardboard roll closed. Fill roll with beans to make a rattling sound. Tape up other end and decorate with felt pens


Fill an empty yoghurt pot with a few beans. Join 2 pots together firmly with tape, etc. Decorate with collages and coloured pens.


attach some bells onto a rolling pin for playing with dough.


this site has lots of ideas


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  • 5 years later...

Some great paint and dough ideas thank you marion.


We have been doing minibeasts this term, we set some plastic minibeasts inside jelly moulds, the children had great fun digging them out, playing in the jelly and eating it!!!!

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