A Brief History of Messy Play

It’s been long time since I did a messy play post; not since April in fact. Too long!

The main reason is that I take a lot of photos so going thorough them, selecting the best ones, adding my watermark etc. takes time – time that I often don’t have.

So here at last is what we’ve been up to, messy-stylee!

Jake & Ellie’s favourite type of messy play is probably foody play.

Back in April & May we had several sessions, & they loved it. We got very messy; me included.

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We just grab any old or cheap foodstuffs we find lying around, stick them in little bowls & give them a big bowl each. They then mix it up in their bowls while I add water on demand. Until their bowls are full, that is: even now they still don’t seem to have the concept of “too much water”.

We use – for instance – flour, old or unwanted breakfast cereals, lentils, whole or crunched-up old organix crisps, old bread / breadcrumbs, old biscuits, sometimes old fruit. They love it!

I’d love it more if they’d help with the clean-up operation, but that’ll come. I hope…

At other times they like to try their hand at ‘gardening’ – a.k.a. playing with dirt!

Later in May they decided to take the remains of foody messy play & plant them! Obviously if you put food into a pot of dirt, add compost & water then it will grow into plants which you can then pick & eat.


Fortunately for us they seemed to forget about this project soon afterwards, so they weren’t disappointed at seeing no reward for their toil!

Also in May they did some painting which I think is their most creative yet. I set them loose in the garden with a big slab of cardboard, paints & brushes & let them at it! I was delighted with what they came up with. Totally unbidden by me they started sticking bits & pieces from the garden onto the wet paint: sticks from plants I’d pruned, dandelions, grass.

Their painting became an ‘Installation’: Tate Gallery here we come!


Later on, with a little help from me, Jake worked out that combining different coloured paints together made a new colour! He then spent the rest of the session as The Mixer: making new colours for Ellie to paint with.


I’m not sure what happened in June; it seems to have been a MessyPlay-Free Zone. I do know that we grown-ups were pretty busy with house-hunting.

In July however they did some more great painting, this time in our new house. Jake was once again doing some great mixing, & I love the vibrant colours he produced!



More recently we bought a little cardboard house for them to paint & decorate, & they’ve really enjoyed it.


That deserves a post of its own though I think: sometime in the next 4 months. Hopefully sooner!

I’m linking this post up with Jennie’s ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae’ blog-hop: for more Messy Play posts like this just click here.

Edspire  Messy Play


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