messy play activities

Mayhem and Messy Play #9: Let Kids Have a Kitchen Drawer

The kitchen floor doesn’t need to be covered with toys, instead it can be covered with containers, pans, and tools when we let kids have a kitchen drawer. At least, when it comes from the drawer it’s easier to scoop up and drop back in when it’s time to tidy up.

kitchen drawer play

A low kitchen drawer filled with a few items can be a source of play for kids of various ages. Young ones will enjoy simply taking out all the stuff and spreading it around. Kids a little older will use the objects to pretend or, perhaps, to build. The kind of play reflects their development. Because the objects can be used in several ways, they will meet children’s needs at various with kitchen items

Some possible items to include in a bottom drawer include plastic containers of different sizes, colors, and shapes, small metal pots and pans, a few tools such as a potato masher, ice cream scoop, wooden spoon, and spatula, and plastic dishes, cups, spoons, and forks.playing in the kitchen

Toys can often only be used in one way. With kitchen items, there’s no right or wrong way. Kids can play with them according to their interests and development. Little Sister loves to pretend she is shopping with stuff in the drawer. Big Sister liked to set up her own restaurant and serve us.exploring numbers

Children like using things that are not toys. Toys are what kids have, while kitchen objects are what adults get to use. Children imitate the actions of the adults around them during their play. Adults spend time in the kitchen, so understandably kids like to do that too. During kids’ self-directed play in the kitchen, we can occasionally interact with them. We might ask if they are making something to eat, or comment that a spoon banging on a lid makes a noise. Is it a loud noise or a soft noise? Messes are not always something we see, they can be something we hear too.making music fun

We often forget that play doesn’t come from toys, it comes from within children themselves. For some messy play fun and learning, would this work in your house or play center to let kids have a kitchen drawer?


Mayhem and Messy Play #9: Blanket Fort Messy Play

Although a blanket and a few cushions aren’t typical materials for messy play, this blanket fort messy play certainly made a lot of disorder at our house.childrens imagination power

While doing some vacuuming to clean up one mess, we had to move some of the chairs in the kitchen. I don’t know how that inspired the idea of a blanket fort, but soon the cushions were on the floor, the coffee table moved to a new position, and a few blankets recruited from other rooms. Once the blanket fort had a roof and walls, the kids began rounding up all the things needed for playing in it. This added up to a surprising number of items, but it was all contained in one space.

While messy play often refers to sensory fun, and creative play usually suggests art activities, making a blanket fort was both. The kids were creating their own world. They were also managing it which required a lot of problem-solving and negotiating. Figuring out how the world works and finding our place within it is a huge challenge. This can be overwhelming for young children. With a blanket fort, kids are in control of the world, even if it’s just a small space for a short time. They are controlling the rules and directing the play. This limits the uncertainty for them. On the other hand, play in a blanket fort is unlimited, because the fort can be anything such as a store, space ship, bus, or dragon cave, and kids can choose to be anyone, person, animal, or another creature.

Blanket fort messy play not only engages brains and promotes thinking skills, it also involves emotions and encourages exploring feelings. Kids can pretend they are brave or scared, adults or babies. In a variety of roles, they interact with others, connecting actions and words. This play is purposeful and perhaps that is why it’s so much fun for kids. All in all, isn’t that worth the mess?


Mayhem and Messy Play #8: Slime Messy Play for Fun and Learning

No matter what recipe you use, or what you call it, slime messy play is great for fun and learning. It appeals to kids of various ages and stages, past the everything-in-the-mouth stage, that is.

slime messy play

Slime is a messy play activity that can be contained in a fairly small area, but you need to watch it. Slime will spread out all over and keep going. After discovering that slime would drip right over the edge of the counter, Big Sister noticed it made a long string right down to the floor. She wondered how long a string it could make so she stood on a chair and let some drip from her hand. Sure enough, it made a string that far too.  I wanted to stand on a chair and see if the slime would make an even longer string without breaking, but I waited until the kids were not in the kitchen. By the way, it did.slime messy play

Another time, we read about blowing bubbles with slime. That sounded really cool but how can slime make bubbles? It’s much thicker than soapy water. This took a few tries but it does indeed work! Once a bubble is started, it grows just holding it. Basically, you stick a straw into a bunch of slime and blow. The bubble doesn’t pop like gum but starts to get holes and collapse.slime messy play

Little Sister likes to pretend she is cooking with slime. She fills a few toy pots and pans with slime and then ‘cooks’ it. Sometimes, a batch of slime will be thicker than other ones, so it can be rolled and molded.slime messy play

Slime has almost unlimited opportunities for creative play. There is no right or wrong way to play with slime, so children are free to explore and create. The sense of touch is highly activated and the sense of freedom is also stimulated. Does your child enjoy slime messy play?


Mayhem and Messy Play #7: Soapy Water Messy Play Fun

Soapy water messy play isn’t a contradiction. Instead, think of it as a magic formula for fun that goes like this: Soapy Water + Dirty Toys = Clean Mess. We managed to have a sunny afternoon and toys, just like the rest of the house, needed some spring cleaning. I partly filled some bins with … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #7: Soapy Water Messy Play Fun

More Messy Play Fun & Parent Advice: De-Stress and Embrace the Mess

Guest blogger Amy K. Williams shares these ideas for more messy play fun. I can hardly wait to try them, especially the rainbow powder activity. Enjoy! Or, in her words, “De-stress and embrace the mess.” Three Kid-Friendly Crafts that Celebrate the Craziness of Chaos Parents spend a good part of each day cleaning up after … Continue reading More Messy Play Fun & Parent Advice: De-Stress and Embrace the Mess

Mayhem and Messy Play #6: Messy Painting Activities for Kids

One paint brush and a few colors can engage kids in fun and learning over and over again, so it’s worth it to set up some messy painting activities. Some communities have art centers with studios where kids can go and paint up a storm.In the history of the world, art has a special place, … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #6: Messy Painting Activities for Kids

Mayhem and Messy Play #5: Messy Mud Play and Learning

Messy mud play and learning tops a bucket list of activities for kids. Like a right of childhood, kids deserve the opportunity to get covered with mud. The good news is kids are wash and towel dry. (Washing machines and rocks aren’t great friends, so make sure you check pockets and rolled up hems before … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #5: Messy Mud Play and Learning

Mayhem and Messy Play #4: Baking Soda and Vinegar Messy Sensory Play

Volcanoes aren’t the only way to have baking soda and vinegar messy sensory play fun and learning. Almost anything works, play clothes advised. For this messy and sensory play, we used a plastic bowl of baking soda, another one of vinegar, a couple of spoons, and some clear, plastic goblets. A shallow container or tray … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #4: Baking Soda and Vinegar Messy Sensory Play

Mayhem & Messy Play #3: Mixing Colors Messy Play Science Experiment

Messy play doesn’t have to cover the whole house; this mixing colors messy play science experiment was limited to the kitchen table but the play wasn’t. Recently, with a record amount of rainfall in our area, we’ve had a few rainbows. This inspired our rainbow activity. Have you seen the science experiments with colors and … Continue reading Mayhem & Messy Play #3: Mixing Colors Messy Play Science Experiment

Mayhem and Messy Play #2:  Soap Foam Rainbow Messy Play

If you need an activity to ease into some sensory and messy play, this soap foam rainbow messy play is both messy and clean. After all, isn’t soap clean? Even if soap is clean, you may want to spread some newspaper wherever your child will be playing. We set this up on the floor, but … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #2:  Soap Foam Rainbow Messy Play