This summer sensory play activity is a favorite with all of my kids! I love how easily it cleans up. Find more sensory play activities kids love.
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Kids love sensory play, but it can get sooo messy!!! This outdoor summer sensory play idea is always a hit with my kids, and a breeze to clean up.
Looking for indoor sensory play ideas that are NOT messy? Check out these solutions:
Cardboard canvas is another messy outdoor sensory play activity that kids enjoy.
Outdoor Sensory Play
What You'll Find on This Page
One of the things I love about summer is the ability to take messy play outside!
For this activity I set the kids up with individual trays of corn starch, water, and washable paint. We bought our trays for $1.99 at IKEA several years ago. They hold up beautifully, and were still for sale there last time I checked.
Corn starch dissolves in water, so at the end of play you can hose everything off. I do recommend hosing it into the grass. Corn starch will not hurt grass or other plants, and some people find that it deters pests. Pouring corn starch and water down a drain in large quantities can clog a drain!
My kids aren’t intuitively messy players. They started off pretty cautiously, but gradually became more involved.
Emma had a storyline going with her toys. Small toys like the ones sold in Safari TOOBs work wonders in engaging reluctant children in messy play.
Lily mostly watched – this time. She was more adventurous in later play sessions. I find that it’s important to respect children who have this kind of watch before engaging approach to life. They still benefit from the experience of watching, and it preps them for more involved participation later on.
For Johnny, it was all about the full-body sensory experience:
Both Johnny and Emma wound up with corn starch up to their elbows. Lily eventually got some on her hands, but still wasn’t sure how she felt about it:
Everything hosed off easily at the end, and we’ll definitely do this again this summer – probably with more corn starch and water in each tray!
Why Try Messy Sensory Play?
Finding messy play solutions for a sensory seeking child like Johnny is a no brainers, but why encourage naturally neater children to play?
Sensory play is an incredible experience for both children and adults. Sensory activities like this one engage the senses while building both fine and gross motor skills.
Sensory play is also one of my favorite ways to help kids destress. It’s equally healthy for adults – try it!
Remember that nature is the ultimate sensory experience. A hike in the woods or a trip to the beach provides all of the benefits of this simple sensory play experience – and more! Traditional summer toys like this DIY sandbox also offer great messy sensory play experiences!
What is your favorite messy activity to take outside in the summertime? How about an indoor activity for those stiflingly hot days when you need to be indoors or in the water?
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