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50+ Messy Play Recipes To Make At Home

It’s amazing how much fun you can have in the kitchen and these awesome messy play recipes for kids are exactly what you need! Create your own homemade paint, sidewalk chalk, play dough and more, with homemade craft recipes to make together.

These thrifty messy play recipes mean no more last-minute trips to the shops when you run out of craft supplies. Keep the kids busy with these fun activities for home, using supplies you likely already have on hand! These play recipes are perfect for creative play for toddlers too!

Creative play recipes for diy art fun

Messy Play Recipes For Kids

You may be surprised just how much you can make at home. Not only does your kitchen hold the key ingredients to many delicious food recipes… but it also happens to be home to some awesome messy play recipes too.

And the best part of making your own kids’ craft recipes at home is that you know exactly what is going into them.

Many of these play recipes are non-toxic and use natural ingredients that are totally kid-safe!

As a parent, that’s a huge positive compared to the long list of ingredients on those store-brought creative products. We all know how much kids like to taste-test things!

Kids painting with homemade paint

Benefits of Creative Play For Kids

Most young kids adore creative play opportunities. Especially when they include messy play. Messy play is a perfect sensory learning experience for kids of all ages and each has so many benefits for young, developing minds.

Creative play encourages self-expression in children and identifies their uniqueness.

The process of creating helps younger children to further develop fine motor skills, building coordination and strength in their hands. This is a big reason why playing with play dough is a popular early learning play activity.

Manipulating substances such as slime and chalk helps kids to learn about the world around them.

Painting and colour-based activities help with learning and the ability to identify the different colours and how they combine.

And of course – creative play is FUN!

Homemade sidewalk chalk drawing

Preparing for Creative Play

Most creative play and sensory play are a little bit messy, so you will want to be prepared for the messy sensory play fun with some simple tools and equipment on hand.

  • Storage – If you are making craft recipes such as paint, playdough or slime, you may need a storage container to keep them in to avoid drying out. If kept in suitable airtight containers, your homemade play recipes should last just as long as the version you can buy at the store.
  • Suitable play area – For the play recipes intended for outdoor use, make sure you choose an area that you are allowed to decorate. For painting or paper-based messy play, make sure you protect the area with newspaper or a wipe-clean table protector.
  • Protective clothing – While many of these play recipes are washable, it is still a good idea to take measures to protect clothing or wear old clothes during play. An art smock is perfect for kids.

Ready to get creative? Check out loads of fun DIY messy sensory play recipes to try:

Messy Play Recipes To Make At Home

Get to the fun stuff with these messy play recipes and sensory play ideas that kids of all ages will love!

More Awesome Messy Sensory Play Ideas

Short on time but still want some messy fun and sensory play ideas for your kids? These messy play activities don’t require your kitchen at all. They are great for instant messy fun activities for children!

Mud Pies

Younger kids especially love playing in the mud and this is one activity that you can set up in no time at all, especially if it has just been raining. This outdoor messy play idea is perfect for spending time in your backyard.

All you need is some mud, water and possibly some utensils. Let your kids go wild making mud pies in the garden and getting messy fingers.

Shaving Cream

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Shaving cream can provide hours of enjoyment for kids and it’s so easy to set up! Simply get a can of shaving cream and let your kids go wild. They can squirt it, write with it, sculpt with it and more.

If you’re not keen on a big mess of shaving foam, you can have them do their messy sensory play in the bathtub or shower so it is easy to wash away.

Soap Foam

Another idea much like shaving cream is using soap foam. The kids will love making soap foam sculptures, shapes and letters. Again, this one is easy to set up and clean up.

Rainbow Rice

This is a really fun and colourful sensory play idea that is easy to set up and can be reused if stored well. Simply dye some rice using food colouring in different colours then leave out to dry before playtime.

Then, put the rice in a tray or container and let your kids scoop, pour and play with it. They might even enjoy sorting it. My eldest loved the rainbow rice more than anything back in our playground days. Best of all, it’s safe to eat!

This is a great option for creating sensory bins for your child or toddlers.

Rainbow Spaghetti

This one is similar to the rainbow rice but a little more messy.

Simply cook some spaghetti as per the packet instructions then add a handful of spaghetti to a ziplock bag. Add a few drops of food colouring and water to each, and roll around until the spaghetti is dyed. Repeat with as many colours as you have.

Afterwards, rinse your spaghetti thoroughly in a colander until the water runs clear. Don’t skip this step or your kids will end up with rainbow hands!

Then the kids can get into their messy fun with this easy messy play recipe idea.

Vegetable Oil or Baby Oil

If you want a really slippery and slimy experience, then get out the vegetable oil or baby oil. Children will love pouring it into their little hands, watching it drip and feeling how slippery it is.

This is a good outdoor messy play activity and one that you will want to ensure they are wearing old clothes for. Add a few balls or objects they can use to play and feel the oily texture as they play.


I'm bored jar printables

Messy sensory play is a great way to let kids explore their senses and have some fun. These messy play recipes and activities are easy to set up and clean up and many just require your kitchen and everyday equipment to make. Let your kids go wild with these ideas and see what kinds of creations they can come up with. Who knows, you might even join in the messy play too!

Want more fun ideas for keeping the kids busy?