Messy play with dough, slime and sand

This play requires close supervision to ensure your child doesn’t put these substances in his mouth or eyes. Wash hands after playing. By Kirsten Davids

With an older toddler who understands to keep the slime in the tub and out of his mouth, you can start to explore different textures in messy play. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself enjoying it too – all these recipes make stuff that feels lovely to play with, and your little one will love experimenting alongside you.

ALSO SEE: 3 fun messy play ideas for toddlers


This is the slimiest slime ever. It drips and drags from fingertips, oozes and squeezes from fists. If your little one is in need of a swamp for his collection of dinosaurs, look no further.

You will Need

  • 75g cornflour
  • 120ml baby shampoo
  • Green food colouring


  • Put the cornflour and baby shampoo into a bowl and mix together until smooth.
  • Add the food colouring and mix again.

Top tip
Don’t overwhelm your tot with too many toys and tools to use with the goo. He’ll be happier to play with two or three things. Swap them for different objects when he starts to lose interest.

Messy play with slime

Cloud fluff

This super-soft dough smells amazing and feels even better. You’ll love this one too − although it’s dry to the touch it will leave your hands feeling moisturised and your cuticles in tip-top condition!

ALSO SEE: Easy microwave playdough recipe

You will need

  • 175ml baby hair conditioner
  • 250g cornflour


  • Put the two ingredients into a bowl and mix – the dough will take a minute to come together.
  • Knead for a further minute until smooth.

Top Tip
Knead in a spoonful of glitter to add sparkles to your cloud fluff.

Messy play with cloud fluff


Have you ever read the Dr Seuss classic, Bartholomew and the Oobleck? It’s the tale of a king who gets annoyed at the rain in spring, the sun in summer, fog in autumn and snow in winter. When the royal magicians make sticky green slime called Oobleck fall from the sky instead, he learns not to moan – after a boy called Bartholomew saves the kingdom from the goo, of course. And this recipe for Oobleck makes some very odd goo indeed. Move your hands through it slowly or pour it, and it’s a slimy liquid. But squish or squash it together, or hit it, and it’s solid. Make it and your toddler will love it – and read the story too!

You will need

  • 300g cornflour
  • 225ml water
  • Green food colouring


  • Place the cornflour in a bowl and pour over the water and food colouring.
  • Mix until there are no lumps – you’ll have to mix slowly so it stays liquid.


Clever sand

Pinch a few handfuls of clean sand from the sandpit to make this. All the other ingredients make it easy to mould, so your little one will enjoy pressing it into pots to make mini sandcastles. It’s fun to add food colouring to the water before mixing. Try making two colours, so they gradually mix to make a new colour as your tot plays. This can be stored in an airtight container – spray on a little water if it dries out between plays.

You will need

  • 1 litre play sand
  • 110g cornflour
  • 1 tbsp baby shampoo
  • 200ml water


  • Put the sand into a large bowl and mix in the cornflour.
  • In a separate container, mix the baby shampoo and water.
  • Pour the liquid into the sand mixture and mix well.
  • Add a little more water if you need to, until the mixture starts to clump together.

Clever sand

Top tip
An old shower curtain spread on the kitchen floor makes a great surface for messy play: it contains the mess and it’s fast and easy to clear up afterwards.

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