What is messy play?
Basically messy play is sensory play with mess involved! You’re going to need a tub of some kind, I personally recommend a cement and plaster mixing tray (available from Homebase, eBay or amazon) I often refer to it as a tuff tray/tuff spot. Poundland does some cat litter trays that are really nice as an independent messy tray! Some places will say you need a stand, which is nice but not essential, plus if its on a stand they can’t get into it which is half the fun! If you’re paying more than £20 look somewhere else, because you can get fab ones for £20 and under.
For me the three best trays to start with are water, sand and paint (obviously kid safe versions – Early learning centre does great options). But your imagination can run wild (cereals, spaghetti, play dough, rice, glitter, mud etc) as long as its safe for kids chuck it in and let them explore!
If you take the water and sand tray, first let the kids play, let them feel the sand in between their toes. Some kids don’t like it at all. Let the kids guide you. If your kids like it start introducing containers, jugs, spades, spoons etc. Let them explore. My kids will often the start bringing their own toys into the trays. For example one little boy wanted to make his toy cars sandy and then use the water tray as a car wash. The water and sand is a great way to introduce early maths skills of shape, space and measure without them even realising. The paint is much more about allowing the child to realise they’re making marks. Plus what child doesn’t like getting messy…
For parents the best bit of a tuff spot is it’s contained in one place and you can wash it out easily. You can use the tray inside and out and depending whats in the tray, all different ages can enjoy.
If you check out my instagram theres plenty of messy play posts!
If you don’t want to get messy at home theres a great place in Sheffield called Rattle and Roll which I’ve just discovered that does a messy play session on a few different days during the week. I love going on a Saturday with my two. Check out their website : https://www.rattleandrollmusic.co.uk