Exciting Messy Mat Sensory Play Activities for Kids

Over the years messy play and sensory play have become more and more popular among families with young children, allowing their little ones to unleash their creativity whilst they explore their senses.

Sensory play activities are great for children as they start to develop and learn, helping them to explore the world around them through their senses whilst developing their language and fine motor skills as well as their cognitive reasoning skills. The benefits of sensory play for child development are incredible.

At Crafty Pods our Messy Mat is the ideal addition to Messy Playtime, including sensory play, which is why we have come up with our favourite Messy Mat based sensory play activities that your child will love to get stuck in with.

Muddy Play

Toddler sat in Crafty Pot with a Messy Mat, playing with a container of thick brown liquid

Mud is the foundation of every child’s curiosity, who hasn’t had to stop their child trying to eat handfuls of dirt?

Stop worrying and let your child enjoy some sensory playtime with edible mud!

Edible mud is easy to make with household ingredients and lets your child get creative without eating something they shouldn’t. Mix one cup of cocoa powder with two cups of corn flour and some water and you have homemade mud that is fine to eat and great fun to play in.

Set up your messy mat outside for that authentic muddy feel and get out your homemade mud and any toys they may want to play with, we recommend some toy animals like dinosaurs for some rawsome fun.

Turn this edible mud into a mud kitchen by adding some pots, pans, cups and bowls for your child to play with.

Homemade Volcanoes for Kids

What do kids love more than mud? Explosions!

Making volcanoes is a great sensory play activity that also teaches kids about the wonders of science and the great wide world. Stimulate your child with great visual elements and the different smells and textures that make up a working volcano.

Easy enough to create, they may need a little parental help for this fun outside activity. 

This great sensory play activity starts by making some edible, sensory playdough. Mix one cup of flour and one cup of bicarbonate of soda together with a quarter cup of vegetable oil and any food colourings you want. Shape this dough into your volcano with a hole down the centre, and fill that hole with a little extra bicarbonate of soda to make sure your volcano has the right reaction.

Once you and your child have formed your volcano safely on your messy mat you can add some vinegar to the mix and watch the magic happen.

Full of different textures, tastes and smells, this experiment is a fun little science experiment that your children can get stuck in with.

Creating a Jelly Ocean

Bowl of light blue jelly full of shells, animal toys and wooden boats

If your little one loves the oceans and all things marine life this sensory play is the perfect activity and, with the use of a handy messy mat, it can easily be done indoors. Find all of your sea-themed toys to make this sensory play activity even better. 

This activity takes a little bit of planning ahead as you need to make jelly! Make as much jelly as you would like, blue or green coloured jelly is ideal for this activity, and place some of your sea creatures in the jelly before you set it.

Jelly is great for any sensory play activities as it is super squishy and sticky, easy to pull apart and it doesn’t matter if they eat it, letting them explore textures, tastes, smells and sounds.

Once your jelly is set you can set up your play area with any other sea-themed fun and let your child go wild with this delicious sea-themed sensory play activity.

If you want to add some more textures and scents to this activity, shaving cream makes the perfect sea foam, but be careful it doesn’t swim into little mouths like the jelly might! Alternatively whipped cream makes a deliciously edible sea foam.

Toy Car Wash

Sensory play includes any kind of wet water play, so why not create the cleanest toy box in history by setting up their own ‘car wash’. 

Create a little space covered in waterproof material, like a messy mat, and start setting up your ‘car wash’. All you need is two buckets or large tubs, filling one with warm soapy water, sponges, scrubby brushes or any other cleaning tools that your child can happily use. 

Once your child has put their toy through the ‘car wash’ they can put it into the empty bucket to ‘dry’. This activity is both a sensory play activity and a mastermind idea for parents needing to clean their child's toys.

Don’t get Upsetti, Play with Spaghetti

toddler lying in a crafty pod with colourful spaghetti on his head as he smiles at the camera

A store cupboard staple, pasta is the ideal addition to your messy play activities. Pasta is available in lots of different shapes and sizes, perfect for exploring textures as your child learns and develops through sensory play activities.

Create a completely edible pasta based sensory play activity with some rainbow spaghetti! The bright colours and slimy, wiggly texture of the spaghetti in this activity is great for helping to develop your child's fine motor skills as the pasta starts slipping through their fingers.

Rainbow spaghetti is easy to make, all you need is a ziplock bag of cooked spaghetti, food colourings and water. Once you have a ziplock bag of spaghetti you can add some food colouring and a few drops of water and get shaking! This is also a great activity for your children, shaking the bag and seeing the colour start to change.  Drain your spaghetti and put it into a container, you can create as many colours as you would like.

Put your child and their container full of spaghetti into a secure play area to ensure spaghetti doesn’t end up where it shouldn't, and to make cleaning up even easier.

This activity is brilliant for children with curious mouths as it’s completely edible, you may not even need to make lunch!

Discover Fun Sensory Play Activities at Crafty Pods

It’s time for messy play! Discover the benefits of sensory play, and keep the mess contained with the full range from Crafty Pods

Get in touch with our friendly team for more information about our products, or check out our Podlife page for more fun messy mat and crafty pod ideas.

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