We've put together a handful of great recipes for messy play fun. We say don't be afraid of the mess! As you go through these recipes think about the the different ways in which the children can explore and what they can learn.

For example, as they feel the slime or bubble squish run through their fingers they'll explore the different properties, noticing that there are liquid parts, bubble parts and some more solid parts. They'll be able to explore the different ways they can manipulate and 'make their mark'.


•    Packet of cornflour
•    Water
•    Food colouring
Put the cornflour into a bowl. Add water and mix until 'gloopy' ( not too much ). Add a few drops of food colouring.


•    2 cups of flour
•    2 cups salt
•    2 cups water
•    2 tsps cream of tartar
•    2 tbls vegetable oil

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container.
Alternatively, all the ingredients can be placed in a microwaveable bowl and heated for 1 minute on full power in the microwave. Take out and stir before returning for a further minute.
You can add glitter, sequins or a few drops of your favourite essential oil... lavender is nice and calming. Or try vanilla essence.

Sand Mousse

•    Sand
•    Washing up liquid
•    Food whisk

Put the sand into a container and squeeze in some washing up liquid. The amount depends on the amount of sand used. Whisk vigorously for a few minutes until the sand takes on a spongy soft texture (mousse!). To reuse it, keep in an airtight container.

Cloud Dough

•    8 parts flour
•    1 part baby oil

Mix both together until it holds together like soft sand. Adding a few drops of food colouring and/or fragrance adds a further dimension.

Modelling Dough

This soft dough hardens quickly and is great for painting
•    2 cups salt
•    1 cup cornflour
•    1 cup of cold water
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat. After modelling, leave to harden.

Fruity Putty

•    0.3 ounce of sugar free jelly powder
•    2 cups flour
•    1 cup of salt
•    4tbs cream of tartar
•    2tbs vegetable oil
•    2 cups of boiling water
Mix all dry ingredients in a saucepan and add the boiling water. Mix and stir until a ball is formed. Leave to cool.

Bubble Squish

•    'No Tears' bubble bath
•    Yoghurt pot full of water
Pour bubble bath onto an easy clean surface. Add water and encourage child to mix together. Try adding some glitter and/or food colouring.

Cellulose Slime

•    Cellulose powder (can use wallpaper paste)
•    Water
•    Food colouring
Mix water and powder together according to instructions. Stir quickly, but slowly adding the powder. Leave overnight and then add the food colouring.

Finger Paint

•    2 cups white flour
•    2 cups cold water
•    Food colouring
Mix together. You can use jelly instead of food colouring. Don' forget that it can be used as foot paint!

Give it a try! What did the children think of your messy play activities? Why no share your ideas for messy play in the comments below.