Top Tips For Messy Play At Home

We all know there’s nothing more wonderful for little kids than free creative play. Invaluable for their innovation skills, manual dexterity and of course a couple of hours’ without electronic devices can’t do them any harm.

To help, the Oglee Poglee team has put together their top tips for navigating messy play activities at home.

Preparation is the key

Having everything set up and ready to go before the children get started is crucial.  That way you can enjoy the playtime and rather than running off to find the baby wipes. Cover your surface ie: kitchen table or floor with a wipeable cloth or sheet or simple sheets of newspaper work well.

Things to have to hand before you start: A towel, baby wipes, bowl of warm soapy water to wash sticky hands in, a child’s apron, craft materials set up ready and a tub or baking tray to work in.

Keep it simple

Messy play doesn’t have to be an amazing set up with lots of equipment. A simple washing up bowl with some water and some plastic animals to wash or a selection of saucepans and some dry ingredients from the kitchen cupboard is enough to spark the imagination of young children.

Stay in your comfort zone

If the idea of paint covered hands sends shivers down your spine then don’t go there just yet.  Start with something simple, easy to play with and quick to tidy away. A tub of everyday rice, some plastic cups and kitchen roll tubes is a really fun place to start with messy play.  The rice may leave the tub but with a quick sweep or hoover its all gone.

Go outside

Messy play is a great activity for the garden and somehow it never seems as stressful. Chalk a on a patio will wash away when the rain comes. Paddling pools and sand pits are great for messy play.  A flower pot, mud and some fairy toys can quickly become a fairy garden.  Add some dinosaurs to a sand pit with some twigs and leaves and dino world is very quickly created.  My boys favourite was always a large bowl and wooden spoons.  They would hunt around the garden for ingredients and make a potion.

Use the bath

Imagine a messy play session where the tidy up simple means turning on the tap and washing everything away!  When you do messy play in the bath the mess is contained and lots of fun can be had.

Pick your moment

Messy play is all about fun and exploration so picking the right moment is key.  A hungry or tired child is less likely to enjoy the activity.  Exploration and imagination take time so don’t rush the activity either.  I have know children who can play with one sensory activity an Oglee Poglee workshop for over an hour quite happily.

Play together

Children learn by watching so now is the time to get stuck in.  Enjoying the activity yourself shows the child that it is safe and fun.  My youngest has always liked to play independently and so I craft alongside him.  It’s great for spending time together and stops me from interfering in his project.

Choose the best materials

Sadly not all washable paints are actually washable, trust us we have tested out a lot of paints!  We use a top quality paint for our craft workshops and we know it’s super washable and non toxic.  With all art materials buy the best that you can afford, they will last longer and make the tidying up a lot easier. For really young children you could even make your own edible paint.

Tidy up time

Encourage children to help with the tidying up and make it into a game.  Tidy up never seems as bad when you have help!  Keep the tasks simple and age appropriate though.

Further ideas

For some really great messy play ideas and simple sensory tubs to try check out Growing A Jewelled Rose.  Their website is packed full of amazing ideas.

Also visit Oglee Poglee on Pinterest for some simple messy play starter ideas and art techniques to try

If messy play at home is really not your thing then come to an Oglee Poglee craft workshop and let us take all the stress away.  You get to spend quality time with your child and we do all the tidying up.