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Messy World Play

Embrace the chaos - embrace the mess.


Why messy play teaches kids resilience, unlocks imagination and helps you let go…

Messy World Play Ideas

Activity IdeasDevelopmental Skill
Expressive Painting | Body Painting | Collage Art | Water PlayGross and fine motor skillsRead more
Dinosaur’s in the Mud | Jelly World | Stuck in the Mud | Ice Cube PaintingCreativityRead more

Nappy changes, surprise explosions, airborne food, a washing basket filled with odd socks and a living room turned into a jungle. Yes, you’ve officially been initiated into the wild world of parenting. If you’re reading this with a gentle nod and a knowing smile, then you’ve already joined the messy club. Welcome to the chaos, where mess plus kids equal parenting. 

Mess controlled or rogue has a purpose. Messy play is a primary tool that assists kids cognitive, linguistic and creative development. From decision making, spatial awareness and sensory recognition, the benefits of messy play are endless. We’ve popped together the why and how below so you can feel at ease knowing messy play is all for a reason.

Gross and fine motor skills

Messy play isn’t just about getting your hands dirty – it’s literally about teaching tiny hands how to build strength and dexterity in preparation for the real world. As they grab, squish, and shape, your little ones are mastering the skills they’ll need for life’s everyday tasks. Even though it may feel far into the future, grabbing onto jelly, mixing muffins or building sand castles from dirt is literally getting them ready to use cutlery, get their pen licence and tie their own shoes. Messy play teaches toddlers how to get a grip on different textures.

Toddler Activity Ideas

Kitchen Fun

Cooking and getting messy in the kitchens is so much fun - a practical way to get snacks made too.

Outside Art Class

Get outside and create art sculptures with sand, mud, stones, flowers, fallen leaves and dirt.

Redesign your Toy Cars

Make your toy cars all the colours of the rainbow by transforming them with paint and letting them dry.

Shaving Foam Fun

Create designs using dad's shaving cream and observe its fascinating ascent.


The beauty of self expression is that there are no rules, no right or wrong way to create. Messy play lets kids’ imaginations run wild and opens pathways of creativity. Being messy is freeing, it’s giving them permission to let loose and be themselves without worrying about making a mess. How wonderful is that? 

Toddler Activity Ideas

Expressive Painting

Set up a painting station with washable paint and let your mini Picassos unleash their creativity on the world.

Body Painting

Use different body parts to create art. Feet, hands make incredible modes of expression.

Collage Art

Cut numerous tiny pieces of paper, then assemble them on a blank canvas to craft a vibrant mural.

Water Play

Re-paint your outdoor fence with a bucket of water and a sprinkle of imagination.

Language development 

Messy play helps to expand explorers’ vocabulary. From sight to scent, using multiple senses at the same time stimulates learning and language development. Get ready to hear words like “gooey,” “crispy,” “slimy,” and “sticky” as kids feel their way through different materials. Don’t be surprised if there are a few “ickys” and “yucks” in the mix— this is them developing preferences and making decisions based on feeling. 

Toddler Activity Ideas

Dinosaur’s in the Mud

Play with toy dinosaurs in a muddy setting to spark imaginative adventures and sensory exploration.

Jelly World

Make colourful jelly and see how many shapes you can cut and structures you can create.

Stuck in the Mud

Literally get stuck in the mud and go outside and make a mess using nature.

Just Mud

Literally get stuck in the mud and go outside and make a mess using nature.

More to discover

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Embracing Competition for Growth

Genevieve Muir discusses how unlock Emotional Growth through physical play benefits toddlers.

Thumbnail for Rediscover youth and embrace silly play to reconnect to your child

Rediscover youth and embrace silly play to reconnect to your child

Genevieve Muir discusses how laughter is parenting’s secret weapon. Turn bad days to good and reset in a moment just by being silly.

Thumbnail for Quality time nurtures confident kids.

Quality time nurtures confident kids.

Genevieve Muir discusses how just 9 mins make a difference. Dive into present to nurture kids’ emotional safety through play.

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