Category: Messy Play

Messy Mondays: Kinetic Sand

Our first day back at work after the Christmas break was one of our favourite Messy Mondays!

Well, actually, not so messy, as this time we were exploring Kinetic Sand.

Made with natural sand, Kinetic Sand is easy to shape and mould. The creative possibilities are endless! It flows through fingers just like real sand. It never dries out so you can play again and again and best of all it’s easy to clean up! The children as young as 18 months have really been enjoying it and seem to be mesmerised by it in a way they aren’t with playdough and clay.

It’s a fantastic sensory play material, the colours are really vivid and it makes for a lovely soothing and relaxing activity.

Elmer’s Slime Starter Pack: A review

My son, like any other 5 year old, loves slime! He has been on at me to make slime with him for a while now. It wasn’t the inevitable sticky mess that was putting me off but rather the lack of knowledge of the best slime recipe. I have read about all sorts of concoctions that supposedly make the best slime but I wasn’t 100% convinced by any of them. So, when we spotted this Elmer’s Slime starter pack I knew it was for me!

The pack contains 2 clear glues, 4 glitter pens and 2 bottles of the all important magical liquid.

Using a bowl he tipped the mixtures in to the bowl and stirred well with a spoon.

You then have to knead the slime until it forms a stuff mixture.

I have to say it made fantastic slime. It washes off hands really easily which is good.

I did try to keep the slime by storing it in an airtight container but when we returned to it a few days later it hadn’t kept well at all so I would say that this makes it quite expensive for a one off activity. However, as a fun birthday present or stocking filler or Christmas present I would highly recommend this.

Available to purchase from Hobbycraft:

Messy play

Here at Aston Childcare we love a bit of messy play! Of course every day we have sand and water and playdough out but as well as these we enjoy all kinds of other messy, sensory experiences such as –

  • gloop
  • Coloured spaghetti
  • Rainbow rice
  • Cloud dough
  • Shaving foam
  • Sand mousse
  • Making mud pies

I’m always on the lookout for new ideas that I think they might enjoy.

Some children can be reluctant to put their hands in our latest concoction at first whilst others get stuck straight in!

Messy play is recognised as an important part of early education and has many benefits for the children and so it’s important that as childminders we embrace the mess!!

These are just some of the ways in which messy play helps children –

Physical Development  The children get to develop and practice their fine motor skills and eye hand coordination.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development – There is no “right” way for children to do messy play which builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Children can develop concentration, problem-solving and planning skills. Working with others fosters self-respect and respect for others and presents opportunities for making relationships. Messy play can offer an outlet for feelings, experiences and thoughts.

Communication and language – During messy play, children have  many opportunities to speak and listen. They use words and gestures to share resources, explain actions, negotiate plans and take turns. By asking open ended questions we can help encourage their thinking skills.





Halloween happenings

I currently only look after children aged 2 ½ and under so Halloween doesn’t yet mean anything to them but we have been putting a little Halloween twist on some of our recent activities nevertheless. From messy play the youngest can be involved in, to stories we can all enjoy together, to puzzles for the older ones – we’ve all been involved.

  • Messy play: Messy spaghetti and playdough in blood red and black, the colour of darkness and green monster slime (gloop)
  • Books: Halloween sliding windows book, great for developing fine motor skills, learning new words and numbers and Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau
  • Puzzles: Scary spider puzzle – Puzzles are huge here! We have far too many but love them all!

Areas of Learning covered: Physical Development, Mathematics, Literacy, Expressive Arts and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication & Language, Understanding the World.

Happy Halloween everyone!  Mwahahaha!

Messy Play: Potato printing

This afternoon the children enjoyed one of those classic childhood activities – potato printing. It’s fun, creative, not to mention messy!

I had some potatoes that were past their best in my cupboard and was keen to put them to good use! Unfortunately my carving skills weren’t up to much but they did the job!

The children loved picking up the potatoes and squishing them into the paint and then stamping them down on to the card.

I recently did some training on ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning:  Creating and Thinking Critically’ which reminded me that the focus on the pieces of work my mindees provide shouldn’t be on them looking perfect for parents because it can interrupt a child’s thought process. With this in mind, I sat back and let them do their own thing avoiding the need to step in to help them create the “perfect print”.

Once they had covered their pieces of card there were chants of “more, more!” which I took to mean that they were actively involved and enjoying what they were doing (Characteristics of Effective Learning)

My son soon decided to stick his whole hand in the paint and do hand print painting instead(!) which we had done a couple of weeks previously.

Areas of learning covered: Communication & Language, Physical Development, Expressive Arts and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Literacy and Maths.

Characteristics of Effective Learning: Active Learning: Being involved and concentrating, Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Messy Mondays: Coloured spaghetti

Today we had some sensory fun with some coloured spaghetti. We added some pink and green food colouring to cooked spaghetti and popped it in our messy tray and then my mindee got stuck in feeling the contents of the tray.

“It’s sticky”, “It’s wet” “it’s yummy” and “it’s like wiggly worms” he said.

He loved squeezing it in his hands, wrapping it around his hands and fingers and holding it up high and letting it drop again.

This was a very simple, open-ended, sensory activity which appeals to children because of the bright colours and the satisfying texture.

Messy Mondays!

Yesterday after lunch we played with Shaving Cream which proved a very popular messy play activity. Shaving cream is great for sensory exploration and provides endless opportunities for children to play and discover. We had some great descriptive language – its “rough” and “bumpy” and “it tickles” and sparked lots of imagination with children saying they were “building Mount Everest”.  We added some food colouring and had fun making different shapes.

shaving foam 1 shaving foam 2 shaving foam 3


  • Sensory play encourages children to manipulate and mould materials, building up their fine motor skills and coordination. Sensory play uses all 5 senses, but the sense of touch is often the most frequent. Toddlers and children process information through their senses. They learn through exploring these.
  • Sensory play is unstructured, open-ended, not product-oriented; it is the purest sense of exploratory learning
  • Self-esteem: sensory play offers kids the opportunity for self-expression because there is no right answer and children feel safe to change or experiment with what they are doing.
  • Language development- experimenting with language and descriptive words.
  • Develop social skills: practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing. Provides opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.
  • Encourages Imagination and creative play.

Green Gloop!

This morning we turned our hands to making Gloop!  Gloop is an interesting mixture with a unique texture to explore and play with. Playing with Gloop is a fabulous sensory and science activity to learn about the concepts of what a solid and liquid is.