5 Messy Play Activities With Food (Taste Safe)

If the kids are playing then mess is always guaranteed! However making a mess has so many benefits to their development & messy fun allows them to explore their senses, develop their fine motor skills, enhance their vocabulary & much more!

Now for us parents we may not feel to keen to embrace messy play due to the clean up aspect & don’t feel the need to do messy play every day but it is certainly a fab activity to offer plus it is often messy play activities which will keep your little ones engaged the longest.

The possibilities are endless for what you can use for messy play & in general most of the messy play activities can be set up quickly with things around the house. Food is amazing for recipe play, either exploring it as it is or mixing it to create a messy fun recipe. What’s even better is that using food means that it is taste safe & you can enjoy the messy play with your baby (6+ months). 

Note: For babies under 6 months you can play messy play into a Zip Lock bag so they can still enjoy the squishing & manipulating it.

 With 2 girls & working in early years for 15+ years I have set up & explored lots of messy play activities, so I am going to share with you my favourite messy play activities with food.

5 Messy Play Activities With Food:

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from.  I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Moon dough is made out of 2 ingredients (flour & oil) & is excellent for messy play, you can squish it together & stays in the shape. If you use a food based oil it is taste safe too.

Add cups to your moon dough & make mini castles, add small arctic animals like penguins to use as snow or add some chocolate chips & plastic cookie cutters for cookie dough play.

Want the recipe? Download my Free Messy Play Recipe Ebook.

My go to messy play (which isn’t that messy!) Dried Pasta can be used to combine messy play & imaginative play. Use the pasta to fill cupcake cases or add it to your play kitchen. I also love to add extra items to our dried pasta like pom poms. However you can also use cooked pasta or spaghetti which brings a different texture, you can practice scooping and cutting skills with cooked spaghetti using spoons, knife & fork or even scissors.

Not messy in a sticky sense but adds a different texture to messy play, plus I love that you can easily vacuum it up when it’s time to clean up. With the range of cereals on offer the opportunities are endless, we have used weetabix with the horses as hay, scooped & picked up hoops with tongs & crunched cornflakes with our hands. 

Aquafaba is the liquid from a tin of chickpeas & if whisked up with a little cream of tartar makes a lovely foam to explore. You can also add some food colouring to change the colour. Add some mini plastic figures or just enjoy exploring as it is. 

Want the recipe? Download my Free Messy Play Recipe Ebook.

Oranges are an amazing messy play activity, they smell amazing plus encouraging them to peel & squeeze them to make juice is great for your little ones fine motor skills too. My oldest daughter is 6 & regularly asks to squeeze oranges.

These are only a handful of activities you can enjoy with food, exploring any food is an amazing activity so have a rummage through your cupboard to see what you can find. If you would like some more ideas for messy play do check out my Free Messy Play Recipe EBook.

Now back to the ‘messy’ aspect of messy play! Yes there will be mess that you have to clean up but being selective with what you hold your messy play in and where can make playtime a lot easier. 

I 100% recommend using a tuff tray, it is shallow enough that your little one can access the materials but also has a lip to keep it contained. To be honest I love our tuff tray & use it for all our messy play even inside the house. If you are using it outside, once finished you can just hose it down so easy to clean too. A tuff tray isn’t an essential and it is quite big and difficult to store so if you haven’t got one or would like something smaller these play trays from Tiger Moon are perfect and you can purchase mats to place in them too just like the large tuff trays.

If you don’t have an outside space or the weather isn’t great, you can do your messy play in the bath tab or inside an inflatable paddling pool to contain the mess or if you are using smaller quantities you can place the messy play onto the highchair tray or in a bowl or tray on the table.

I would love to see your messy play in action so please do tag @itsplaytimetots on instagram and don’t forget to down load your free messy play ebook.

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