10 Outdoor Messy Play Ideas

Outdoor messy play is a great way for children to experience how things feel, smell and look, all of which supports their physical development. Here are 10 ideas for you to try at home with your children.

Mud Kitchen

Children love getting mucky and playing with mud. It’s a great way for them to get up close to nature and explore the world around them. Plus, they get to enjoy making their own mud pies and using them for pretend play.

Homemade Nature Paint Brushes

Why not try making your own paintbrushes from things you can find around your garden – use a stick as the handle and then fasten leaves, flowers or grass to the end.

Water Spray Bottles

Get some old spray bottles and fill them with water then make patterns on the wall, fence or patio with the water spray. You could even try adding some food colouring to the water for added fun (and mess!).

Chalk Drawings on the Patio

Use chalk to make markings on the patio – you could draw pictures, make some track for toy cars or even draw out a hopscotch to play in.  

Outdoor Painting

Take a large piece of paper outside with some paints and create giant artwork!

Painting

Jumping in Muddy Puddles

Put your wellies on and hunt for some muddy puddles to splash in.  

Corn Flour Slime

This can get a little messy so definitely one to make and play with outside! You will need 2 cups of cornflower to one cup of water (and some drops of food colouring if you wanted to make different colours). It’s great fun to try and pick up the slime and mould it without it melting through your fingers.

Bug Hunting

Walk round your garden or local woods and see how many different types of bugs you can find – you could even try examining some close up with a magnifying tool if they will stay still for long enough.

Car Wash

Children love water play so why not take the toy cars outside with a pot of soupy water and give them all a wash.  

Build a Wormery

Discover the brilliance of earthworms by making your own wormery.

  • In a large clean jar place a thin layer of sand about 1cm deep, add a thick layer of soil, a thin layer of sand and finally another layer of soil (leaving about 2cm space at the top).
  • Ask your children to find some worms and place them carefully in the jar.
  • Add some old leaves, vegetable peelings or tea leaves.
  • Place the lid on (with some holes in the top).
  • Place black paper around the jar and put it somewhere cool and dark.
  • Leave this for a couple of weeks then take a look and see what the worms are doing inside. See if they have made any patterns in the sand and soil in the jar.

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Also, don’t forget to check out where our local Little Muddy Boots classes are taking place if you have toddlers or pre-schoolers. 

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