As the nights draw in, the rain starts lashing and the wind howling, outdoor messy play can become curtailed. Spending more time inside during the autumn and winter months can make it more difficult or stressful to think of creative and messy play ideas for at home, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
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One of the simplest, cheapest and easiest messy play ideas for indoors is playdough. It is always a hit with children at Messy Play sessions and is such a versatile resource.
Now I know you can go and buy it, but when you see how fun and quick it is to make your own, I think you will be converted. My basic recipe is below:
Esther’s Simple Playdough Recipe
- 3 cups of plain flour
- 1 cup of table salt
- 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar (optional but makes it a bit more shiny)
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 cup of warm water (not boiling in case the children are mixing in together)
This is so child friendly, part of the fun is that they can help you to make it!
- Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl
- Add in the oil and mix
- Slowly add in the water until you get a dough
Autumnal Messy Play Ideas
There are some brilliant simple ways to make the playdough more autumnal, here are my top three favourites;
Autumn Colours and Smells
- Add in a bit of brown, red or orange paint (mix it into the water before you add that in) to make the playdough look the colour of the leaves outside.
- Or add in some smells like cinnamon, ginger or mixed spice (add a teaspoon with the flour) to give an extra sensory experience.
Go on a windy walk to collect leaves then get the children to press them into the playdough to show the different patterns and shapes. They could also use the leaves as ‘hair’ for funny playdough creatures.
Make an orange coloured playdough, give the children spoons and a ball of the playdough, then let them use the handle end of the spoon to ‘carve’ their pumpkins, you could even all work together to make one big ‘pumpkin’!
Playdough is so versatile, you can do so much with it that a rainy autumn afternoon is soon full of messy fun!
Have you tried this messy play idea with your kids? Please let us know in the comments box below.