Sunday, 24 May 2015

Fabulous collection of messy play

Morning all. I've got to admit that its not been the easiest of half terms. I think this may have been the most hectic yet.  At school our new 2 year old building has opened and there has been a lot of movement (and mess!).  We've had quite a lot of new starters (including children who will be going to reception in September) and a lot of home visits in preparation for next year.  At home we're preparing to move out and my allotment is looking a little shabbier than I would like. So I've sadly neglected my blog over the last 6 weeks:(  Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things over the next half term or so.

I was chatting briefly to a mum and colleague on Friday and she wanted to know how to make 'gloop.'  I was telling her to come and look on here as the recipe will be hiding somewhere but it made me realise that I don't have a single post which sums up all the 'messy' or 'dough' recipes which I've posted. So here we are!  I also wanted to include a few others which I have found over the years on other people's blogs and sites.  

There is no recipe for being messy - often the best messy play comes from just raiding your cupboards and making some 'silly soup!'

Cornmeal dough (click)

Cornmeal dough was a bit of an accident. My manager ordered cornflour from Tesco and they sent cornmeal (I guess they though it was a suitable substitute:S) 

It turned out that the texture worked really well and its dryness meant it could be worked well at room temperature. 

Scramble egg dough

Scrambled egg dough was an evolution on gloop using custard powder which my EYP at the time was fond of.  The smell is so lovely that I wanted to use it myself when I had the chance but I didn't want to just do gloop again.  The name wasn't even my idea, it came from a very creative, lovely little girl who still remembers making this:) 


Everyone seems to know about basil seeds but no-one told me! So when I made this people were quick to tell me how they'd used basil seeds for years in other things:p 

The seeds expand and help to hold the dough together.  Its stretchy but a bit of a pain getting off your tray. 

Bubble dough

Bubble dough is a very straight forward dough. I find that the dough changes based on what scent the washing up liquid has. I've not tried with 'original' washing up liquid so if you have, let me know. I'm sure its different again!

Kool aid dough

If you're lucky like me to have family members who go to America or a plethora of American sweet shops in your town or city then you've got to try Kool aid dough. The smells are intense and the colours are a pleasant pastel. These are great for any children who might prefer to use their mouths to explore their environment. 

Coffee and Milk dough

I didn't really know what I was doing that day. But I knew I had to try something different. Of course the colours were mixed in pretty quickly - but it was such a lovely smell:) 

Go with the flow dough
Go with the flow is pretty much my mantra when it comes to messy play. The children should be leading it where possible and they certainly were that day. 

Throwing anything they want into a tray allows them to explore reactions e.g. what happens when water is added to flour. 

Making chalk
I've seen people do this for a while and I'd had some plaster laying around which I just wasn't sure what to do with.  Turned out they are surprisingly easy to make AND they have lasted such a long long time!

Making crayons

Not as good as chalk but making crayons is a relatively simple procedure.  It allows you to make them into more exciting shapes than the pretty uninspiring shapes they come in.

Nothing quite beats someone finding a fairy shaped crayon and making their first mark! 

Ghost mud

I think our parents were a little shocked to see toilet paper inside of the black tray in the morning.  The children were also a little confused..

But it turned out to be a really wonderful activity. Whats more I found it more useful for them to grate their own soap than try and track down elusive soap flakes. 

Borax free slime

Borax is illegal in the EU because its quite dangerous - yet they use it in Early Years settings in the US. I'm not sure I understand the logic.

I found this website which uses a borax substitute to make slime.  Now its still an irritant so I actually never used it with the children in the setting however I think with gloves or with your own child this might actually be fine. 

Herbal tea dough [EXTERNAL LINK]

The smell from using herbal tea bags is just beautiful (stronger than kool aid!) The downside being is you need to be absolutely sure the ingredients aren't going to cause a reaction.  I enjoy a good smokey flavour;) 

Sand dough 

This uses up quite a lot of sand but its worth it if you store it for longer use. 

Apple pie dough [EXTERNAL LINK]

I really enjoy any dough where some of the ingredients are still visible (flour in this case).  Its also important to think about smells in your play as messy play is not just about physical touch. 

and of course, 


This list is not exhaustive at all. There are thousands of variations on all kinds of dough which if why I rarely post new dough recipes anymore. You can get creative on your own or with children and make new doughs rather than following recipes. But if recipes are your thing I hope this is a good starting point, enjoy.

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