Baby Messy Play
As an Early Years teacher I have always been interested in the benefits of sensory and messy play. Messy play allows children to use all their senses to investigate and explore the world around them .It also develops physical skills and coordination.
So when I became a Mummy just over a year ago, it made sense to me to do lots of sensory activities with Hartley from when he was a small baby.
As soon as he was sitting with support I started introducing him to lots of messy play. I make sure that all the materials I use at the moment are edible so there is no worry when he puts things in his mouth., which of course he will do because babies use their mouths to explore and investigate new objects!
Here I am going to share links to some of our favorites.
This is a simple sensory activity that can be done with babies of all ages. Here Hartley is about 6 months. He had just started sitting up by himself but you could do it with a younger baby whilst supporting him or using a seat like a bumbo.
Hartley loved the feel of the jelly and enjoyed pouring it. As it is jelly it doesn't matter if it goes near the babies mouth but I didn't encourage him to eat it!
Since then we have used different coloured jellies with different scents. We have also put plastic bugs in the jelly so he can find them. This just adds to the sensory experiences. You could put in a variety of different objects.
Spooky Halloween Jelly
Painting is usually something that parents leave until their child is a toddler or at least past the 'putting everything in their mouth stage'. The truth is painting is such a great, sensory, creative activity to do with even small babies.
We started painting Hartley's hand and feet when he was tiny - this was actually a lot easier than I thought as he kept quite still and I could easily wipe his feet and hands with a baby wipe.
This photo was taken when Hartley was around 6 months and could sit up although you could do this activity in a highchair or bumbo.
I was in Germany at the time so found it difficult to find the ingredients for edible paint so I used non-toxic paint and made sure he didn't put it in his mouth too much. I got a large roll of paper from Ikea. We were lucky that our floor could be easily wiped, however if you have carpets you could put down large mats or put the paper into a paddling pool. This activity would also be great outside in the summer.
It is also very easy to make edible paint the recipe I use is
* 2 cups of corn flour
* 1 cup of cold water
* 4.5 cups of boiling water
* Liquid food colouring
Or for an even easier finger paint just mix flour and water and add food colouring.
You can also use different flavoured angel delight or even baby food.
I often just let Hartley wear a nappy whilst painting as he can get as messy as he wants and I can just put him in a bath later. (another fun activity)
You could use an apron or waterproof all in one.
Again this is a really easy and simple activity to do with the smallest of babies.
These photos were taken when Hartley was 6 or 7 months.
He loved exploring the spaghetti. I like doing sensory activities when Hartley is just in his nappy as he can explore with his whole body and if he makes a mess he can just have a bath.
Here we just used simple spaghetti but you can colour it using liquid food colouring or add different senses for and even bigger sensory experience.
Here are some links for other spaghetti activities
Spooky Spaghetti I made for Halloween
GloopGloop is a fascinating substance which is created when you combine cornflour with water. Babies and children of all ages will love the feel of this stuff. Whats so amazing about it is the fact that you can roll it into a ball and it feel quite hard but as soon as you let go it 'melts' and becomes a liquid.
You can also add food colouring for even more fun.
Cereal FunEven breakfast cereal can be used for baby exploration.
Hartley had lots of fun poring and scooping rice Krispies.
You can use almost anything; cornflakes, weetabix, porridge even baby rice. You could add milk or water. Allow babies and toddlers to use spoons, cups etc.