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longgone's avatar

What messy preschooler activities do you recommend?

Asked by longgone (15279points) 4 days ago

I’ll be spending the evening with my three-year-old sister. She likes messy activities. We’ve already done the obvious: playing with mud or water, sand, play-dough, kneading cookie dough, gardening.

Any more special ideas?

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21 Answers

ragingloli's avatar


SEKA's avatar

Fingerpainting is the thing that popped into my head

janbb's avatar

We occasionally played making “sculptures” from marshmallows and jelly candies with toothpicks. It was great fun. If she’s allowed some candy it might be cool.

Papier mache?

Vignette's avatar

Cooked spaghetti. Color it, smoosh it around and fill clear containers with the different colors. Keep your hands clean and you can pour sauce on them and have lunch.

rebbel's avatar

Separate the yolks of some eggs.
Very messy job (for me it is, anyway).
Feels yuk, as well, yolks do.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If it is warm enough outside get some Sidewalk Chalk.

By the way S&S Worldwide is a great art supply house, used to buy things at the warehouse during their closeout sales.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Glitter,glue and a blowdryer!

Brian1946's avatar

Washing dishes and cleaning house (especially toilets) can be messy. ;-)

ucme's avatar

Ask her to watch over mod duties, can get quite ‘messy’ ;-}

raum's avatar

- slime (glue, baking soda, contact solution)
– water beads
– kinetic sand
– homemade stress balls (flour or corn starch in balloons)
– shaving cream in the bathtub

janbb's avatar

Collage? Cut up pieces of construction paper into various shapes and glue them onto to big rolls of brown paper to make designs?

raum's avatar

Actually just bought some sheets of acetate yesterday for faux messy art.

Planning on coloring some bottles of white glue using liquid watercolor. Then letting the kids squish around between two sheets. Sensory with easy cleanup.

Bet you could improvise with parchment paper and food coloring.

Vignette's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I have some left over XMas tinsel you can use for your hairdryer art and some cotton candy made by Certainteed.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Oh, hell’s bells , I’m not going to do that!
Spray glue would be good to use for the glitter experiment.
Baking soda and vinegar creates a mess too!

Vignette's avatar

Go get a Bedazzler…that will keep them busy into their Twenties.

Sagacious's avatar

Pottery outdoors.

Finger painting outdoors or, if cold, sitting inside dry bathtub.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, this is great! The visit was moved to next week, which gives me time to buy some stuff. I’m especially interested in the idea of paints that can be mushed somehow… I wonder what would happen if we mixed shaving cream with paint. And spaghetti, maybe. I also like the baking soda and vinegar “fizzy paint”. I bet she would love that. She’s a fan of spray bottles.

Finger painting is a surprisingly simple idea I didn’t think of. Maybe she could decorate my windows with some Christmas paintings. Also, I remembered that I loved a fake type of papier-mâché – mix water and bits of tissue paper, shape, paint. Very simple and gooey, but doesn’t create a horrible mess.

Thank you for the outside play ideas, too. It’s very cold around here right now, but she’ll be young enough for these activities in Spring.

I might let her do some modding. Just don’t complain afterwards. She doesn’t have perfect control of her fingers and she’s definitely a fan of quick solutions rather than due process.

raum's avatar

You could use the shaving cream as a faux marbling medium!

There’s also bleeding tissue paper. That’s fun with spray bottles. (Different than regular tissue paper.)

Also salt on top of watercolors is pretty.

Have fun!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Here is a video on salt &vinegar techniques with watercolor paints.
I think you cold get some cool paintings out of her with this potentially messy technique. :)

ucme's avatar

Haha, when they can’t be bothered to type your name :D

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