You and the kids are definitely going to want to try these messy play ideas at home! They’re fun and easy to setup, without using too many supplies. Be sure to check out a huge list of activities for preschoolers at home for even more ideas.
Related: Huge List of Messy Play Ideas
I often share ideas for messy play in the classroom, but there’s nothing keeping you from bringing messy play home too!
Messy play is any activity that can get a little . . . well . . . messy. Usually, these activities are sensory, science, or art ideas that have some messy components.
Don’t be afraid of the mess! As long as you have a good cleanup plan, just embrace the mess.
25 Messy Play Ideas at Home
Children will get a lot out of these messy play ideas at home. As I already mentioned, they’re fun. Which is reason enough on its own, right?
In addition to being fun, these messy activities allow the kids to explore a variety of learning concepts. They can learn through their senses and have a blast while doing so.
Now, let’s get down to the business of messiness.
Related: Christmas Messy Play Ideas
Art Messy Play Ideas to Do at Home
First, we’re going to jump into messy play art to do at home.
Sidewalk chalk paint – You only need a couple of household items to make your own sidewalk chalk.
Corn painting – Grab some old corn cobs and paint for the kids.
Splat art gravity painting – This one is a crowd-pleaser, every single time.
Acorn painting – If your kids love collecting ALL the acorns, this messy art idea is for them.
Painting with marshmallows – Let the kids get arty with some stale marshmallows.
Giant paint spin art – Homegrown Friends brings the BIG messy art with this one.
Soap foam printing – Break out the bubbles and try this idea from Fireflies and Mud Pies.
Freeze dance painting – Let the kids use their feet with Coffee Cups and Crayons’ art fun.
Rock pour painting – This idea from Happy Hooligans is a must for your list of messy play ideas at home!
Make your own stamps and stamp pads – Follow Babble Dabble Do’s instructions for this simple and engaging art idea.
Homemade edible paint – Hands On As We Grow has some wonderfully simple, and awesomely messy, art recipes like this one.
Sensory Ideas for Messy Play at Home
Next, let’s take a look at messy sensory activities the kids can do at home.
Scented rainbow science – Put together this sensory and science fun with some basic ingredients from the kitchen. You can see some of it in action here:
Jell-O soap foam – You can’t go wrong with bubbles!
How to make fake snow with flour – “Snow” is great any time of year, in my opinion.
Coconut cloud dough – I think cloud dough, in all of its iterations, belongs on everyone’s list of messy play ideas at home.
Toddler-safe play sand – Perfect for setting up a beach-themed sensory bin for the kids.
Cool Whip sensory activities – For the younger kids who are still putting things in their mouths, these Cool Whip ideas are great.
Sensory play with oats – Pour your stale oats into a sensory bin and let the kids get messy!
Clay and water – My Buddies and I shares a super simple messy idea that will keep the kids engaged.
Painting animals – This classic idea from Green Owl Art can be done with a variety of the kids’ toys.
Set up a mud pie kitchen – TinkerLab shares some tips for setting up the perfect mud pie kitchen in your backyard.
Oobleck party – We are big oobleck fans over here. Busy Toddler’s idea of an oobleck “party” is a must for your at-home messy play ideas.
Building with shaving cream – Grab your foam blocks and some shaving cream to try out this activity from Days With Grey.
Dinosaur dig sensory bin – What kid would turn down the chance to be a paleontologist? And Next Comes L’s bin includes some things you likely already have at home.
Wiggly worm sensory play – Fantastic Fun and Learning embraces the heart of messy play with this amazing sensory play idea.
Personally, I LOVE a good messy play activity.
But I know messiness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Usually because the mess needs to be cleaned up.
If that’s what is holding you back, here are a few tips:
- Set yourself up for success. Put a tarp or a mat down underneath the play.
- Teach the kids your expectations before getting into the messy activity.
- Have your cleaning supplies on-hand.
- Make sure to keep the kids involved in the cleanup.
- If it’s super duper messy (as in “this is going to require a hose to clean up”), try to take the activity outside.
Are your kids excited about trying some messy play ideas at home? Leave me a comment about which activities you’re going to try first?
Preschool Teacher 101 has an immense library of resources for preschool kids. Click on the images below for more information.
If you’re a preschool teacher, be sure to check out our membership options too.