These messy play ideas are PERFECT for spring weather! Read below for some inspiring messy sensory and art activities the kids will love.
Related: Messy Play Ideas for Summer
Ah, spring weather!
Now, I happen to be a big fan of winter. But even I can start getting tired of the cold and the snow by the time March arrives. There’s just something about the slightly warmer weather to make me and the kids want to get outside even more than usual.
With the weather warming up, I know I tend to be on the lookout for new ideas to try outside. That’s where these messy play ideas come in! Because kids love messy activities, and adults love spaces that are a bit easier to clean those activities up.
Of course, I’m fond of indoor messy play activities, too. Just toss a tarp down on the ground, and make sure to have some paper towels and wet wipes on hand. It’s a great way to practice hand washing, too – so many kids love getting messy that they’ll willingly wash up afterwards!
Below you’ll find a variety of ideas to try with the kids. I’ve broken it down into messy art activities and messy sensory play ideas. Be sure to leave me a comment if you have some of your own ideas to try!
Messy Play Art for Spring
If you’re a regular reader of Fun-A-Day, you know how much I love incorporating process art throughout the day.
Messy art activities are a great way for kids to really explore art techniques and materials. Plus, they tend to have a bonus sensory aspect to them.
Spring Shaving Cream Art
This scented shaving cream art was so much fun for the kids (and for me)! The process does carry quite a bit of messiness, thanks to the inclusion of shaving cream, but it is well worth it.
The kids get to explore the marbling art technique and they have such gorgeous works of art at the end of the activity.
Coffee Filter Flowers
This coffee filter art might not seem like a messy activity at first. But take my word for it, it sure can be.
To make the coffee filter flowers, the kids get to drip liquid watercolors with eye droppers. As part of the process, many children tend to test out the concept of over-saturation. Messy, but a great way to explore early science and art!
Adventure-in-a-Box’s rain painting technique is a must try this spring! The colors are just beautiful, and the kids get the chance to explore art and science in one fell swoop.
I think this would be great as part of a preschool weather theme, or even just because. You could even incorporate pictures of the kids under the umbrellas for even more pizzazz.
This squirt gun painting, from Fireflies and Mud Pies, is just what we all need this spring! Colorful, active messy play art that you KNOW the kids are going to enjoy.
Keep in mind, if you’d rather not use squirt guns, you can definitely try this activity with water blasters instead. If you’re as into this idea as I am, be sure to check out all of her squirt painting tips and tricks, too.
Soap Foam Print Making
Fireflies and Mud Pies also shares a super fun idea for making prints with soap foam.
This mix of sensory play and creative art needs to be on your list of spring messy play activities to try with the kids.
Bubbles AND art?! Yes, please! Fun Learning for Kids shares ideas and tips for making some colorful process art with bubbles.
This messy play idea is definitely one to try outside if possible, as those pesky bubbles sometimes have minds of their own.
Messy Little Monsters’ paintbrushes made from nature are just the thing you and the kids should try this spring.
What a great way to show the kids they don’t need to use traditional brushes to paint. And I think these brushes also allow the kids to explore different textures in their art.
Save those colorful eggshell pieces to make Mosswood Connections’ egg shell sensory art project.
What a great use for the leftover eggshells you might have on-hand after Easter festivities.
This tree painting idea, from Pink Stripey Socks, is so easy to set up and can keep the kids entertained for hours on end!
I think it’s also a great way to show the kids that art can be done in different environments, and the inclusion of painting on a vertical surface is perfect for younger kids.
Soap Foam Sidewalk Painting
Take your soap foam to another level by letting the kids make art with it! I love how Teaching Mama added this new aspect to a well-loved messy play activity.
Perfect to make some sidewalk art outside on a sunny spring day.
Related: Jell-O Soap Foam Sensory Play
Earth Day Shaving Cream Art
Natural Beach Living shares another shaving cream art idea, this time for Earth Day.
Take some time to chat about what Earth Day means to you as the kids are making colorful (and messy!) Earth Day art.
Yes! This idea from Learning and Exploring Through Play is spot on. If you’re able to, consider adding mark-making easels to your outdoor play space this spring.
These easels can serve as a spot for all of your messy play art activities, and what a great invitation to create outside for the kids!
Rock Painting Fun
Start off by having the kids gather some rocks. Then let your little artists get creative with painting rocks, as suggested by Little Sprouts Learning.
Related: Pet Rocks Camping Themed Craft
Spring Sand Art
Buggy and Buddy put together this awesome spring messy play art idea! Grab some sand in spring colors and let the kids “draw” with the sand!
What a creative way to make some colorful art outside (and you can bring it inside too)!
Cherry Blossom Art
I cannot wait to try this spring art idea from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!
The out-of-the box tools for creating the cherry blossom art leads to an exploration of textures and art techniques.
Spin Art Rainbows
Babble Dabble Do’s spin art rainbows are so colorful, and I know I want to get in there and create some too!
While they look super messy to make, this rainbow art doesn’t have to be too messy. So this art idea would be a good one if you’re just starting out with messy activities with the kids. Unless you don’t put the lid on first. Then all bets are off!
Sensory Messy Play Ideas for Spring
I can’t share a list of messy activities without including some ideas for sensory play!
Because of the nature of many sensory activities, there is an aspect of messiness. And that’s okay! The kids are really exploring their senses this way and getting the most out of what you’ve planned for them.
Explore the Rainbow
Oh my word, you really need to try this rainbow science and sensory activity! It is such a wonderful way to explore early science concepts and teach colors. On top of that, it really engages many of the kids’ senses.
And, yes, it is definitely a messy play activity! Because once the rainbow has stopped fizzing, so many children can’t help but touch and explore it with their hands.
Be sure to check out a different take on fizzy rainbows from Living Life and Learning!
Make Gold Slime
Ever wondered how to make gold slime? The kids and I have explore making gold slime many, many times over the years. It’s a hit each and every time, and I love it just as much as the kids do.
If this particular messiness is outside of your comfort zone (because I know not all adults enjoy slime), consider adding it to a large Ziploc baggy.
Wiggly Worm Sensory Play
I have to tell you, I have been obsessed with this worm sensory play from Fantastic Fun and Learning since I first read about it!
You only need a few ingredients to whip up this activity, and I love the scented aspect of it. Plus, it just looks so very engaging for the children. I know so many worm-lovin’ kiddos who would love getting their hands in this.
While this activity might not seem super messy, it is a great spring-themed sensory idea from LalyMom. I love that the cutting flowers activity incorporates a chance for kids to practice their scissor skills, too!
This is one of those kind-of-messy ideas that are great when you’re just starting to incorporate messy play into your kids’ activities.
Messy Play with Jell-O
My Bored Toddler encourages us to break out the Jell-O for some messy fun with the kids. I couldn’t agree more!
This activity is especially perfect for young children who still put things in their mouth. But older children would definitely get a kick out of it, too.
Flower Planting Pretend Play
Let the kids plant fake flowers in play sand. This sensory table activity from Gluesticks would be perfect outside on the playground during a warm spring day. You could even set it up inside if it’s raining out!
Set Up a Mud Kitchen
If you’re able to put a mud kitchen up outside, I highly recommend it! Megan Zeni shares a ton of tips for setting up your own mud kitchen, as well as the reasons you should do so. I know my preschoolers have always thoroughly enjoyed having a mud kitchen on the playground.
Consider adding mud pie meatballs to your mud kitchen fun like Hands-On Teaching Ideas did. And these mud cakes from The Gingerbread House are a great addition, too. Maybe even set up a muddy play group with other kids like Mommy Evolution did!
Related: Preschool Mud Day Fun
Colorful Spring Sensory Bin
Buggy and Buddy’s spring sensory bin is the perfect gateway into messy play with kids. Because of the materials, it isn’t overly messy (at least, not in comparison to some of the other ideas on this list).
BUT when you add young children, any and all sensory bins have the possibility of mess!
Flower Messy Play Ideas
Fantastic Fun and Learning set up a sweet-smelling rose petal water play invitation. It sure looks inviting to me, and a nice way to put wilting flowers to good use.
Or consider making flower petal potions like Mother Natured suggests. Lots of colors and open-ended exploration for the kids.
Meadow Oobleck Play
Kids Craft Room makes a spring-themed oobleck that would be perfect with a preschool flower theme (in my opinion). Bright spring colors, flowers, AND messy play? That is a recipe for happy kids. Learning and Exploring Through Play also has a flowery oobleck recipe you should check out.
As with most of the ideas on this list, you can take this activity outside or keep it inside (with a tarp covering your floor, of course).
Related: Colorful, Scented Oobleck Recipe
Flower Ice Cubes
These are another great way to explore messy play that isn’t TOO messy. Perfect for those of you just dipping your toes into these ideas.
The Craft Train shares how to make your own flower ice cube sensory play invitation with just a few ingredients. The kids get to explore simple sensory play with a sweet touch of flowers.
Digging for Worms in Cloud Dough
This messy sensory activity is another great one to try with younger children who are still putting things in their mouths. Just keep the pretend worms out of the bin, and you’re good to go.
Wildflower Seed Bombs
Mosswood Connections’ seed bombs are a combination of science, art, and sensory play. Such a fun messy play idea to try this spring.
The kids can give them as gifts, or have the children plant the seed bombs together in your local garden.
Emma Owl knows how to set up a messy play activity for spring!
This whisking bubbles idea is so simple, and you know the kids are going to be exploring it for a long time.
Taste-Safe Pond Sensory Play
Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids shared this sweet and simple duck pond sensory idea. It’s a messy play activity that’s just right for toddlers and preschoolers, alike.
It would be nice paired with a week’s worth of pond lesson plans.
Parts of the Seed Exploration
Break out the beans and seeds! Carrots Are Orange shares a few different ways to introduce kids to the parts of seeds.
Make sure to keep a hand broom and dustpan nearby, as some of these ideas will be a bit messy. What a great way to teach the kids how to clean up after themselves.
Yes, I got a little carried away with sharing super messy play ideas for spring. But there were so many great activities you just needed to know about!
Now the only question is which one are you going to try first? No, really . . . which one has you ready to jump into spring messy activities with the kids?
Spring Resources for Preschool Teachers
If you’re looking to save some time planning for preschool, be sure to pop over to Preschool Teacher 101. You’ll find a bevy of done-for-you resources like preschool lesson plans, math and STEM activities, and literacy packs. Check out our membership options for even more ways to save your time.
Click on the photos below for more information about each specific resource: