How to survive messy play at home

How to survive messy play at home

How to survive messy play at home

Yep. Messy play makes mess, and children LOVE mess! But the benefits of getting messy far outweigh the dirty clothes & sticky fingers. We’re here to help. Here are our top tips for actually enjoying messy play with your child at home.



Starting an activity just before a nap time or when you child is tired may not be the best idea. Instead choose a time that you know you can be fully present and that your child will be engaged. Possible times could be after morning tea or that lull in the day around 3pm, when you need an engaging activity to get you through the afternoon.


Ultimately outside is the ideal space for messy play as it is easier to clean, just whip out the hose or broom and you are done! But if the weather isn’t playing ball, then there are plenty of spaces inside which are ideal:

  • Kitchen bench/table – use a messy mat, chopping board, oven tray, placemat or even a towel to protect the bench if needed. An ideal space for playdough, clay & paint. Handy hint – having individual trays helps to encourage individual experiences. Great for siblings who are at different stages of play.
  • Kitchen floor – simply place a towel or floor covering down for protection & either sit on the floor or use a child’s table. A portable, foldable picnic table is worth its weight in gold & is a staple in our house for all things messy! You can find them at Kmart, Bunnings or Mitre 10 Mega.
  • The bath – Yes, the bath is a great place for messy play, especially gloop, painting, ice. Easy to clean up afterwards and the area is contained
  • Shower floor – Another great contained space and acts like a “tuff” tray. Simply rinse off when done!
  • Kitchen, bathroom or laundry sink – Great for water play, exploring ice or even slime!


You know it’s going to get messy so don’t be caught short, embrace it but be prepared. Before you get started, have towels, wipes, flannels, aprons, cloths & equipment at arm’s reach. Nothing worse than leaving you child to grab something, only to find they have disappeared and you have gloop on the couch!! Being organized ensures you are also in control and feel relaxed, being able to enjoy the experience too!


Part of the learning for children is to also be involved in helping to clean up. Get them involved & give them a job (age appropriate). Letting them use the hose or helping with the dishes extends the fun & it’s a win-win!

Messy play has many educational benefits including: helping children to relax, experiment using trial and error, igniting imagination, enhancing hand/eye co-ordination, developing skills such as pouring, measuring, mixing, scooping and combining. As well as a banquet for the senses. Ideas to try:

  • Lux (soap) flakes in warm water (let sit for a couple of hours)- beat with an egg beater (add paint)
  • Cornflour and dishwashing liquid
  • Shaving foam and cornflour
  • Slime
  • Paper mache
  • Cornflour and conditioner
  • Playdough
  • Dishwashing liquid (or bubble bath) water and a beater (electric or hand)
  • Mud
  • Finger paint
  • Ice
  • Bird seed
  • Dried lavender



We have you covered for all your messy play needs with scoops, spoons & containers as well as our range of premium powdered playdough, slime, nature play kits. Check them out here.

And, if you're worried about messy kids and their clothing, our friends over at MudMates have what you need to help keep them clean... Check them out here.

Happy playing!

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