Messy play in a flat

Six months ago we moved from a beautiful 3 bed house with a garden to a 2nd floor flat, without a garden (we’re happy it’s our own flat!).

I read lots of blogs especially of people in America and Australia, who have copious amounts of land for their kids to have lots of messy sensory play. At first I use to read these with a sense of despair, how could I possibly do that with my little boy. My dreams of having a sand pit and water tray in the garden have been burst. But I’ve overcome my desire for neatness and have come up with many ideas for great messy play in a flat.


I’ve mentioned shredded paper before, hiding household objects, toy animals or plastic balls within it creates a lot more fun.


Sawdust makes a great substitute for sand. It’s not a material that can’t be cleaned up because it gets everywhere but it’s really useable for pouring and tipping. J loves scooping it up and putting it in other containers.

Other substitutes for sand are porridge oats, rice, lentils and today we used some baby porridge that we hadn’t used up.


I also cooked some pasta and got all his pans out and put it on the kitchen floor. (A tip: don’t do this before lunch, it became his lunch!!)

J has started washing up with us, which is great water play.

But I also cover the bathroom floor with towels and fill a big tub with water and toys and J plays inside.

We also play with bubbles inside.

I promise we do leave the house, but I think it’s great that I don’t have to have a garden for J to still have messy fun. I’m sure I could be braver, cornflour mixed with water or baby rice mixed with water.

My main issue is most things I do with J have to be edible as he still eats everything (yes I know sawdust isn’t edible, that seems to not be a problem).

Extra ideas on a postcard please.


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