10 Safe Baby Play Ideas: Messy & Nonmessy


Babies are very creative individuals. Due to the rapidly developing pace that their brain is growing at, they tend to keep themselves busy at all times. What we as adults think of as “fussy” or “too energetic” is actually a baby’s way of discovering the world. Since every experience is new to them, they find great excitement in learning new things. That is why they love touching, tasting, and holding everything. As a parent, this behavior can lead to a lot of added stress and worry. You will find yourself constantly worried about your child. Moreover, you will want to ensure that your child experiences the world in a safe manner. For that reason, parents usually pick and choose the activities that they would like their child to engage in.

Sensory play is a very important part of a baby’s development. By choosing baby play activities that promote the use of different senses, you can help your child’s development immensely. But of course, there is always the consideration that children are quite messy. Now depending on your mental state, you need to take that into consideration. However, the good news is that you can choose between a number of children’s activities that are messy and nonmessy.

ALSO READ: What are the Cognitive Development Milestones for Babies?

In the following selection of baby play activities and ideas, we have compiled an inclusive list of fun games. Depending on your and your baby’s mood, you can pick an activity of choice.

Nonmessy Baby Play Ideas

Edible Playdough

Edible playdough is one of the oldest baby play ideas. If your baby is still very young and has a tendency to put things in their mouth, it is safer to opt for edible playdough. You can make it at home or you can get it at the store. Either way, make sure to incorporate all the colors.

It is easy to collect after your baby is done playing and does not leave a mess behind. It is also easy to wash off clothes

Sensory Squish Bag

This baby play activity is as simple as filling a ziplock bag with a colorful liquid. You can use anything from gel to shaving cream for the base liquid. Next, add different objects inside such as google eyes, marbles, or grains in the bag. You might want to opt for freezer bags as they are stronger.

Using duct tape or any other strong tape, make sure to seal the ends well to avoid leaks. We would recommend sticking the bag down on a flat surface for ease.

DIY Home Musical

While this one might not be messy, it certainly is loud. Give your child a number of safe items that they can use to make their own music. It can be anything from a small plastic bottle with grains inside to a wooden spoon and a plastic jug or bucket. Using music, you can even try and have them play specific tunes.

A home musical is incredibly fun for children and also helps you bond with your baby.

ALSO READ: Does Music Affect Baby Development?

Mirror play

Babies are easily fascinated with their own features. Since they are not used to seeing themselves, it is very easy to keep them engaged with just a mirror. If you are using a portable mirror, use a small one to avoid any accidents. If you are opting for a floor-length mirror, do not use one that is not attached to the wall.

A simple mirror can keep your child occupied for a while, leaving you with plenty of me-time.

Sorting & Arranging

This baby play idea encourages critical and logical thinking. It teaches your baby early math and allows them to understand shape dynamics. Believe it or not, sorting and arranging are also linked to data analysis. It is an important and super simple baby play activity that has a lot of benefits.

While there are also many different playsets you can find at toy stores, this does not have to be an expensive activity. This activity can be as simple as arranging ping pong balls in an egg carton.

Messy Baby Play Ideas

Wall Art

Give your baby the chance to exercise their creativity. Wall art baby play, whether as drawing or painting or sticking things up is a lot of fun. It also promotes creative thinking, and hand-eye coordination. A lot of parents swear by contact paper. You can use clear contact paper and stick it to the walls that your child can reach. The best part is that you can use both sides depending on the activity.

From sticking foam letters or googly eyes to the wall to painting and drawing on it, contact paper has helped a lot of parents. Besides, wiping it all down is easy and fast.

Multi-sensory Bath

IMPORTANT: Do not leave your baby in the water for too long and avoid this activity during colder months.

Who said bathtime has to be boring? You can make it fun and also educational. Add some water to the bathtub and some food coloring. If you would like, you can add essential oils as well. Next, throw in all the bath safe toys you can find. Felt mats and shape cutouts can be quite fun as well.

If you don’t have a bathtub, then a large tub works just as well. The important thing is to make sure the experience is fun and rewarding for your child.

ALSO READ: When Does Baby’s Intelligence Development Begin?

Jelly Play

Have you ever looked at jelly and just wanted to squish it in your hands? Well, babies feel the same way. This baby play activity is very simple. All it needs is a large deep tray and a pack or two of jelly. Prepare your jelly in the tray (bonus points if you are working with multiple colors!). Once it cools down and sets, give it to your child to play with.

This activity strengthens babies’ grip and is also delicious. You can use this activity to also introduce your baby to new flavors.

Colorful Spaghetti

Colorful spaghetti is easy to make, yummy to eat, and perfect for sensory play. You can buy colorful uncooked pasta or just make it yourself. It is as simple as boiling your pasta and adding color. Half a packet of spaghetti should be more than enough. You can get creative and use different colors as well.

If you are feeling creative, you can arrange a sorting & arranging activity as well using colorful macaroni. You can ask your baby to arrange similar colors together. And of course, if they feel like having a taste as well they can go for it.

Home beach

Trips to the beach are always a great idea. However, you cannot take your toddler to the beach. But, here’s the good part. You can replicate a beach experience from the comfort of your home.

Place some semolina in a tray and add your baby’s favorite toys in. You might want to spread out a large cloth in the room before starting. Just like sand, semolina has a way of getting into places you never imagined it would. Not only is it much safer than sand, but it is also quite close in texture and sensation.

Generally, messy play ideas are more appealing to children. Such activities engage your child fully without any restrictions. Moreover, the concept of cleanliness or tidiness is new to children. Their developing minds cannot fully comprehend it. Hence, it is important to bear that in mind and practice patience and gentleness with them. As adults, we are more disciplined. And we tend to reflect and expect the same standards from children. Not only is that unfair, but it also limits your baby’s experience of the world.

But, as a parent, you must also bear your comfort in mind. There are plenty of baby play ideas that are delightful for your child and absolutely nonmessy. With these activities, you need not worry about cleaning up. You also do not need to worry about restricting your child from playing as they please.

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