I happened to be chatting to some of the mums at the group I run about messy play and why I think it’s important, and I was giving them some ideas they could do at home.
Something we used to do, when I worked with children with special needs, was sensory play, using lots of different items to stimulate their senses, and help them explore the world around them, using textures, smells, and touch.
Cornsilk, made with cornflour is one of the easiest things to do, and is cheap, and most people have corn flour in their cupboards. It’s one of those weird mediums that can be a liquid, then a solid, without freezing or being heated. You can read all about it here where it’s called Ooblek (which is a very cool name, I am sure there was a Dr Who episode called that once….) It can be solid but liquid at the same time. I love the texture of it, and always enjoy playing with the children when we get this messy play activity going. It appeals to the geeky, science part of me!
A tray with a deep ish rim (about 1 inch)
Food colouring, and or flavouring, if you want to make it smell nice, and this is ideal for children with sensory loss, or visual issues, as they can smell it, if they are not able to see it, but it also makes it fun for anyone playing with it.
Any toys that you don’t mind washing afterwards. My kids like to run cars and small trucks around in the cornsilk, you can use pretty much anything you like though, or just play with it with their/your hands
Add the water to two cups of cornflour, and stir it, until it is mixed. It will become firm, but when you touch it or scoop it out, it becomes liquid. Pour it onto trays, and let the kids loose. You can add colours, and mix it, for extra fun. Just add more water to make it runnier, and thicken it again with cornflour.
I do this before bath-time, with the children, so they can then jump in the bath and wash it all off, but it’s also fun outside, as it washes away.
A great, non toxic, fun thing to do, and even at almost 10 and 13 my kids enjoy playing with it and it’s a great, cheap and non toxic messy play idea that works well at toddler groups, or as a sensory activity.