To the moms who don’t like dirt, I am right there with you. Yet, I have learned that messy sensory activities you can do outside with your kids are actually for good for them. Consider trying some of these messy outdoor activities with your kids during summer break.
Let Your Kids Get Messy!
Look I don’t like dirt, I don’t like messiness or my kids getting dirty themselves. You can tell I am a LOADS OF FUN type of mom right?! No, I am not. Well, I wasn’t for a while anyway. I learned fairly quickly from my germaphobe best friend that maybe keeping my kids away from the dirt wasn’t the best thing.
She told me the reasons why she actually liked her daughter to play in the dirt. This was coming from a mom who didn’t let her kids touch doorknobs or grocery cart handles.
My bestie let her daughter run around barefoot and have some messy play fun in her backyard. I found it completely odd and of course, I wanted to know why.
Why is letting kids play in dirt good for them?
- Playing in dirt can boost the immune system.
According to Dr. Mary Ruebush, immunologist and author of Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends, says that dirt is good and even says it’s terribly important for them to play in the dirt to help build their immune system.
- It can reduce the risks of suffering from illnesses and allergies later in life.
According to NeuroscienceNews.com, early microbial exposures help our bodies to learn how to regulate inflammation making chronic disease later in life less likely.
- Kids who play in dirt are happier.
Vitamin D from the sun means healthier bones and the immune system. Keeping active keeps kids healthy. These two things and just letting kids get messy, all equal a happier kid.
Is messy fun good for kids too?
Yes, messy outdoor play is fun and beneficial for your kids as well.
Letting your kids get messy encourages their curiosity, imagination, and their tendency to explore. Messy play also supports your child’s ability to play independently and not be afraid to play freely.
Letting your kids get messy while outside also allows them to practice their sensory skills including fine motor and gross motor skills while embracing new textures in their environment.
If you struggle with keeping your kids clean, then just know that may not be the worst thing. Just let them be dirty, at least sometimes.
Adding in messy outdoor play will allow your kids to get some fresh air outside AND it keeps the mess out of the house…parenting WIN!
Messy Sensory Activities You Can Do Outside:
Messy Fun Ideas with Dirt:
Sensory Play Digging for Spaghetti Worms – Of course, you can ditch the spaghetti and let your kids explore for real worms. BUT you definitely will be less squeamish if your kids are just digging for spaghetti. Your insect-loving kids will enjoy this digging for worms messy fun activity outside.
Dirt Sensory Bin for Frogs and Snakes – You may have some plastic snake and frog toys at home, so create a makeshift habitat sensory bin. Kids will be super messy with this dirt habitat for the plastic creepy crawly insects and reptiles.
Muddy and Messy Sensory Outdoor Fun:
Muddy Farm Animals Wash Time Sensory Play – We all buy our little one’s farm animal figurines to play with. If your kiddos are doing a farm unit in homeschool, then this sensory activity will put those farm figurines to good use.
Embrace Messy and Muddy Sensory Play – Take your sensory play outdoors and embrace your kiddos playing in the mud with toys. Learn how to make this muddy fun worm searching fun.
Trucks and Cars Muddy Play Fun – Cars/trucks and mud, it’s like a little boy’s dream. I love the idea that we can just let our kids explore messy fun, especially if they love to play with cars and trucks anyway. You can’t go wrong with this one.
Messy Painting Ideas for Sensory Play:
Paint the Ice Messy Fun – You never would think that playing with ice would be a thing until you add some paint to the mix. Your sensory learners will have a ball painting ice outside in the warmer weather. Now check out how to paint with the ice for more messy fun.
Messy and Safe Paint Ingredients for Toddler Sensory Play – All you need is some whipped cream, food coloring, cups, and paintbrushes. Then let your little ones paint away and not worry about them putting it in their mouths – because it’s yummy too!
Homemade Gel Paint Messy Sensory Art and Play – This homemade gel paint only needs three ingredients. You will be surprised that this fun messy outdoor activity also requires a – clear shower curtain!
Shaving Cream and Foam Sensory Play:
Poll Noodle and Shaving Cream Sensory Play for Kids – If your goal is to have some messy fun outdoors then this shaving cream and pool noodle messy sensory bin activity will be a hit. Kids love playing with shaving cream, so this activity will get them super excited.
Sensory Bin Shaving Cream Magic Outdoor Messiness – Up for some magic anyone? We have tons of shaving cream at home. Having these supplies at home with some colorful magic and yes, MESSY sensory bin outdoor fun.
Homemade Taste Safe Sensory Aqua Foam Messy Play – Learn how to make your very own wonder liquid with the kiddos. Set up your outdoor area for this aqua foam super fun and totally messy activity.
Messy Water Play Fun:
Nature Soup and Water Play for an OK Messy Play Day – Your little ones will LOVE to get their hands in this nature soup. It’s filled with lemons, rocks, flowers, leaves that will get them experiences all types of senses outdoors.
Pom Pom Messy Sensory Water Play Fun – Normally, getting your craft pom poms isn’t a fun thing, but now it is. What is cool about getting pom poms wet? They can get cleaned, dried, and then can be used all over again as if they hadn’t been submerged in some super messy water playtime.
Outside Baby Doll Washing Station – Little girls always want to groom their baby dolls as adults do. They want to comb their hair, get them dressed up, and now this fun washing station can help your little ones wash their dolls with soapy water and splashing fun.
So don’t shy away from letting your kids get in some messy sensory play outside. It keeps the mess outside and inside your home squeaky clean.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!