Messy Play for Toddlers: Five Fun Food Ideas

by - January 28, 2019


Be sure to let caregivers know of any potential allergens associated with these activities, and have boxes/containers ready to show them ingredients, if needed.

Here is a quick blitz through some food-based program ideas for use with little ones.


ACT ONE: Fingerpainting with Yogurt

Take three containers of plain or vanilla yogurt and put a few drops of yellow food coloring in one, blue in another, and red in the last.

Mix each well, and cover a table with a cheap white table cloth or a roll of large, white bulletin board paper and use it as a canvas.

ACT TWO: Dinosaur Dig (or animal bath, or car wash)

Take large, plastic toys such as dinosaurs, farm animals, or cars, that are big enough not to be choking hazards, and make sure they are nice and clean. 

Make 4 boxes of chocolate yogurt and spread it haphazardly in the bottom of a large under-bed storage container, and toss your toys into it to get nice and dirty. 

In another container, have some soapy water. It's time to wash the toys!

Have a third container or large towel available to catch the cleaned toys.


ACT THREE: Pouring Station

It's not so much food, I guess, but it does use kitchen supplies. Get out that old trusty under-bed storage container again, and fill it a couple of inches with room temperature water. 

Place small cups inside (avoid glass or Solo cups that can break) and let the kids scoop and pour. If you're feeling adventurous, set up another container next to it and let the kids move the water from one container to another.

ACT FOUR: Rainbow Spaghetti

Cook spaghetti noodles according to the package, and add different food coloring to different batches so you have different colored bowls of cooked noodles. 

Play with them separately or mix together. If you let them sit for a while or refrigerate them, they will be easier to handle without breaking up and getting all starchy.

ACT FIVE: Fruit Stampers

I have done this program a million times and I will do it another million, but caregivers have to take a very active role in this activity to prevent choking hazards from occurring. 

Take different fruits and cut them into smaller pieces that can be held more easily, while still showing the unique textures to each fruit. Make a simple paint by making watery rice cereal with a bit of food coloring, and stamp away on whatever surface you choose.

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