Messy play with toddlers is all about preparation as they only have a short attention span. Try spending time putting things in containers and whipping up a batch of Angel Delight with a toddler sitting waiting - they'll lose interest quickly and you're likely to get a frustrated little one who's not in the mood for playing your game!
Knowing this (from personal experience) I planned ahead this morning and pulled together what I needed - different kinds of cereal, some strawberry Angel Delight, a spoon, his toddler coverall and our colourful floor cover - while we were all having breakfast. Luckily I could make use of the cereal leftovers from breakfast making it a less costly activity. And I only used half of the Angel Delight that I'd made up so the rest can be used for pudding after lunch. The floor cover I use is a simple PVC covered fabric that you can buy on a roll from most haberdashery stores. John Lewis has a great selection here. Or you could use a tarpaulin from a camping or DIY store.
|Preparation is key with messy play for toddlers...|
Little Man's first instinct was to dive into the Cocoa Pops for a snack but we soon started exploring the different textures of hard and soft, crunchy and smooth. He wasn't keen on putting his fingers or hands into the Angel Delight so I introduced the idea of standing the Frosties and Cheerios in it like soldiers in a line he started to copy me, picking up the cereal and placing it into the strawberry mixture.
His favourite thing was crushing each of the cereals under his fingers and then with the spoon, chuckling to himself as they popped and crackled. I talked about the sound they made and showed him how the Angel Delight didn't make the same sound when I squished it with my fingers. He swooshed the cereals around in their boxes, watching them fall over the side of the high chair and exclaiming as they fell onto the floor. He also fed me the cereal, picking up each piece carefully and placing it in my mouth - great for his small motor skill development and yummy for Mummy too!
This was a fun 10 minute messy play activity that didn't take much clearing up and was completely safe for a toddler as all the elements were edible. In fact quite a lot got eaten!
Next time we might make up two different flavours of Angel Delight and explore mixing them together or add more tools like cookie cutters. I'd also like to try this activity with Curly Girl in the Easter Holidays and seeing how differently she explores the different elements.
By the way the lovely Susanne over at GhostwritterMummy has helpfully pulled together this fab set of 8 fab sensory play ideas for toddlers. If you've been thinking about trying out messy play with your little one I thoroughly recommend popping over for some inspiration!
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