Jelly Play - Dream or Disaster?

I love doing different sensory play with Lily and Ollie. I like to think it offers them new experiences and different ways to explore. But I'm not keen on mess. At all. You wouldn't think it if you looked at my pigsty house, or if you looked at all the messy play and art activities I do with the kids. Yet I hate it with a passion and often have to work hard to suppress my desire to hover over the table with antibacterial spray and a few baby wipes.

Today was a perfect example. I knew that playing with jelly could be fun. I did it with Lily when she was a baby and she absolutely loved it. It's easy to prepare. It covers all five sensory bases. She was occupied for ages.

It sounded like a fabulous idea in my head.

Less than 10 minutes in however, I was beginning to freak out a little bit. By 20 minutes in, when Ollie got over his initial apprehension at the strange texture and decided that the best thing to do with jelly is scrape it across the table and onto the floor, I felt more than a bit sick.

I soldiered on. Despite Lily throwing an epic toddler tantrum halfway through because she only wanted to eat it. Even when the area around Ollie's high chair was littered with what looked like the insides of cartoon character (TOP TIP - put a mat or towel down first, it saved me from hyperventilating).

And I guess it was pretty fun.

Jelly is cheap and easy to prepare. I sorted it all out the night before. I had planned to do a rainbow of colours, but after discovering that I couldn't find my sensory tub decided it would be safer to scale my ambitions down slightly. It's a really good sensory activities because it covers all areas:
- it smells strongly, depending on what flavours you choose
- it's brightly coloured
- the texture is fun to explore
- babies can taste it without you worrying about toxins
- it makes great splatting sounds and can be easily squished to great effect

I would recommend it, but this sort of activity is best done using a shallow tray or trug. I have heard that some people just put their kids in the bath and I may try that next time. If you're fine with mess then definitely go for it - I asked Lily whether she liked it and she said yes.

Ollie didn't say anything. Obviously. But he spent ages checking out the different colours, squishing it and throwing it on the floor. Thankfully his mischievous smile was so cheeky I just let him get on with it.

As for me. I don't want to even look at jelly for a very long time!

Are you any good at messy play? How do you cope if you're not keen on mess?


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