Messy play is a vital part of Early Years education. It supports children’s sensory processing, fine motor skills, proprioceptive systems and encourages curious minds and creative thinking.
Babies and young children are sensory motor learners, meaning their sense of touch is vital in their learning. However, young children have limited sensory awareness in their fingertips, instead focusing their sense of touch in more sensitive areas of their body, such as their lips! This explains why everything goes in a baby’s mouth!
To support sensory development and expand their exploration past mouthing alone, babies and young children need to experience a wide range of opportunities and environments with diverse smells, sounds, textures, colours and temperatures.
Below are some links to various messy play ideas and sensory dough recipes which can easily be made at home. By involving your child with the making process you are also providing more learning opportunities than simply buying pre-made play dough. All the recipes are easy to adapt using whatever ingredients you might have lying about the house or garden. You can add naturally found herbs and spices to change the colours, smells and texture of the dough, as well as essential oils. Why not get experimental and make up you own, but make sure you share it with us in the comments below!
10 messy play ideas:
12 sensory dough recipes:
Flour & water (mix until desired consistency)
Cornflour & water (mix together until the consistency is both solid & liquid – you’ll know when you get there!)
Conditioner (because if you’re stuck inside who cares how silky your hair is!) & cornflour – mix until the dough is really smooth to touch but will a similar ‘moveability’ to gloop.