Messy Play Materials, Supplies, and Tools

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite messy play materials for kids! They’re perfect in conjunction with the hundreds of messy play ideas I have here on Fun-A-Day. These messy supplies can be used with messy sensory play, messy art, and messy science activities.

Yes, young children can turn pretty much any material into a mess. I’m not judging them – sometimes I feel the same way about myself! But all of the messy materials I share below have been used in some of our favorite messy play activities. So I think they’ll give you a great start as you make some messy play plans of your own.

messy activities for kids with text that reads messy play materials

Related: Messy Play Recipes

I can probably put together a list of over 100 messy materials, but instead I’m going to go with the tried-and-true items. That way this post isn’t a million words long! Once you’ve checked everything out, let me know if I’ve left off your students’ favorites. And be sure to save this post for future reference!

Messy Play Materials

I’ve broken the list down into a few categories. That way it’s easier for you to find just what you’re looking for. There are the basic materials . . . the messy play “ingredients” if you will. I’m also including tools for messy play and supplies that can help contain and clean-up all of the messy fun. I have links for items as appropriate, as well as some ideas for using the items.

Please note that not every item will be appropriate for every child. You know the kids in your care best. So choose the materials that make the most sense for the children’s ages, needs, preferences, allergies, etc. For example, children still mouthing things need different items than kids who don’t.

Ingredients for Messy Play

Let’s start with the messy play bases. These are the main ingredients for your messy activities. Again, this is definitely not an exhaustive list. Otherwise we’d be here all week! These messy play materials can be used in so many different combinations to create hundreds of messy play invitations for kids. (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.)

If you can start a stash of even half of these materials, just imagine all of the messy activities you can set up for the kids! The possibilities are seriously endless.

Activities for Each Material

As promised, here are a couple of ideas to correlate with each of the messy play materials shared above!

8 activities using messy play materials
8 ideas for using messy play supplies with kids
8 messy play activities and materials
6 ideas for using messy play materials with children

What are some of YOUR favorite ways to use some of the messy play materials I mentioned?

Messy Play Tools

Now let’s talk about supplies that you can add to the kids’ messy play experiences. They’re definitely not something you have to have on-hand, but I think they’re great to change things up. When combined with the messy play materials above, you have so many messy combinations for the kids.

One of the benefits of messy play is that it’s open-ended, allowing kids to get creative and make their own decisions. These additional tools give children the opportunity to play and explore in new and different ways.

Clean Up Supplies

We can’t talk about messy play materials without touching on items that help with clean-up! While I love all things messy play, I also think it’s important to have a plan in place to clean up. This helps the children learn about problem solving and taking care of their classroom. It’s also good for adults who aren’t as into messy play experiences. If you have a clean-up plan, that takes some of the load off your mind.

Here are some of my suggestions for containing the mess, as well as items for cleaning it up:

Now that I’ve laid out our favorite messy play materials, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment about your favorite messy play tips.

Alphabet Mats for Crafts and Process Art

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ABC letter mats cover
ABC Letter Mats

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kids' activities with text that reads messy play materials, supplies, and tools

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