Playtime: Letting them make a Mess

Sensory play – wow it sounds so good, like I’m the best mammy ever. I think because I work in a school and help with messy play in my day job, it makes me less likely to start something ‘messy’ at home. I do let the boys help cooking and baking, and we do other sensory play projects too but to be honest it doesn’t happen very often. When I saw the messy play projects linky on I thought it was time to let the kids be a bit more adventurous and not get cross with them for getting messy.

The first project we did was lots of fun but wasn’t quite messy enough. My older boy loves ‘doing science’ so we chose an experiment from Dr. How’s Science Wows – Rainbow Explosions. I had all the ingredients to hand – bread soda, vinegar, food colouring – so off we went. The boys loved seeing the little cupcake holders bubbling over when the bread soda was added. I was a bit of a control freak over the mess though and wasn’t letting them get involved enough.


For take 2 of the messy play project, we decided to do bubble painting. This was very easy to set up as we had all the ingredients already in the house – paint, water, washing up liquid, some straws and paper.

I let the boys paint first of all. The 2 year old was all about the painting and barely noticed the bubbles until much later.


The six year old helped me mix the bubble paint mixture. We mixed some paint with a similar amount of water and then a squirt of washing up liquid. Then we mixed it with a paintbrush When it wasn’t bubbly enough he blew more bubbles with the straw. I didn’t allow the 3 year old to do this as he would’ve drank it.

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We made three different colours of bubble paint. Then I cut a sponge into cubes and the boys dipped the sponges into the paint and printed it onto paper. There was lots of squeezing of the sponges to make even smaller bubbles and when they had tired of printing, I let them mix all the colours in a bigger tray and then play as they wanted. They both got elbow deep.



The whole thing about sensory play is to let the children learn by touch and exploration and to not impose rules on them. This is actually something I find very difficult. I find it very hard to not be a control freak. My house is not spotlessly clean or anything but I hate watching them make it worse. I definitely need to learn to let go a bit more, the boys got so much out of this play. It kept them busy for an hour and a half (which is a long time for them). I was delighted this activity was so much fun and it didn’t really take too long to clean up after either.

If you would like to try your own messy play with your kids, check out the other messy play projects in the linky here.


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