Believe it or not, messy play isn’t just another means of keeping your toddler occupied while you relax for a bit. Yes, it helps in this aspect, but it also contributes to developing your baby’s tactile senses and cognitive functions. Messy play exposed your child to various levels of textures and helps them practise coordination, develop motor skills and boost mental identification of colours and sensory differences.
Plus, it introduces their palettes to different food textures when you use the edible types- this proves quite helpful when the time comes to introduce them to solid foods. Now, getting the floor set for messy play requires you to prepare for a coordinated yet fun experience with your toddler. Make it easier for you to contain, clean up, and keep your child fully engrossed as well, keep the following tips in mind;
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Top Messy Play Ideas for Babies Under 1 UK
Babies under 1 automatically shove whatever they touch into their mouths, so to avoid panicking, use stuff you’re comfortable with them eating up.
Locate the play area in a place you can easily clean up; kiddie pools, bathtubs, containers or large storage boxes. You can also lay some vinyl clothing material or old bedsheet. If it’s during the summer, make it easier by taking the play outside.
Make sure you include toys that are recommended for their ages. This includes plastic shovels, cars, blocks, spoons, lorry, bouncy balls and other items they would love.
Add lots of bright colours to the messy play. This can be done through the toys and by mixing the edible materials with food colouring.
This is especially when you use materials; you still feel uncomfortable with them gobbling up. Plus, not only will it make sure you supervise the activity, but also mean you can dig your hands in and interact with your toddler during the play. Now that you have these tips in mind, check out our list of messy play ideas we guarantee your baby under 1 will enjoy;
The texture is quite close to baby food and is rich in fibre, so your child gets both fun and nutrition when they play with it.
Boil some pasta till just cooked, let it cool, separate into batches and add for colouring of different shades. Then, mix up, pour into the play area, and watch your baby giggle with delight as he squishes around.
8. Dried Pasta
If you prefer a drier messy play environment, fill it with dried Pasta. Be sure to mix up different shapes; risotto, macaroni, etc. and include cups and scoopers, so they can pour around with it.
This idea is interesting in so many ways. It can run like a liquid, shape up like a solid, or stretch like slime, so your toddler gets a new feeling with every touch. And all you need to make this is cornflour, water and food colouring!
A mixture of cornflour and water, oobleck gives a unique sensation when touched and squeezed. Your baby will be fascinated by how it squeezes and seeps through their fingers.
You can have it boiled till just cooked for the extra squishy feeling. The soft texture and separate grains let them squash it in their palms and try to pinch grains off the mash.
12. Raw Rice
You can also use raw rice, so they experience the gritty sensation it gives. To make it more fun, mix the rice in batches with different food colourings, before combining in the play area, and get rainbow rice!
Because of its chunky nature, your toddler gets to practise pinching and grasping, by tearing them into shreds. Make sure the marshmallows are large, so they don’t choke on it.
14. Rainbow Ice
For this, mix food colouring in water placed in ice trays. When the baby sits in the bath, fill it with water, and pour the ice in. The colourful, transparent cubes will keep him occupied, and the temperature and texture combine to give him a whole new sensation.
15. Rice Krispies
Same nutritional value as oats but with the added crunchiness, your baby will enjoy crushing and smashing them to bits.
Another great option for introducing wet sensations to your toddler. Only use this option if your baby isn’t lactose intolerant. Also, purchase the plain, whole fat yoghurt, as it is thicker, richer and sugar-free.
This is one of the most popular and safest ideas for messy toddler play. The texture is gritty and fills the palms, so your baby gets the full sensory experience.
18. Cloud Dough
You get this by mixing flour with any cooking oil of your choice. Cloud dough holds well when moulded, and will give your baby a lot to do with the toy shovels and shape moulders.
An easier way to introduce the wet and colourful play, without worrying about exposing your baby to toxic materials. Have them splat around in it, and draw patterns on the floor yourself, for them to mimic.
20. Bread Crumbs
This idea allows you to create a messy play environment that mimics the same gritty texture like sand. But, unlike sand, you don’t get to panic when they shove it up to their mouths!
You can make your special batch a home, or pick some containers from your local store. Not only is the texture great for babies to explore, but the taste is delicious as well!
In the absence of Pasta, noodles can be a great option for messy play. You can also have them mixed with food colouring to give them the multicoloured experience.
A quick-fix option for messy play, flour introduces them to the drier, powdery sensations. And if you wish to make the messy play wet, just add a bit of water or cooking oil, and watch them make clumps out of it.
You can introduce large chunks of jam and watch them break it to bits, or cut them into cubes and let your baby squish them between their fingers. You can also mould it to different shapes for a wider variety of sensations. Or you can just add more water to the jam, to create a pool of drippy jello slime, so they can dip and scoop.