Messy play in the studio: Tea Party messy play for babies and toddlers

Messy play in the studio: Tea Party messy play for babies and toddlers

Do you need a new activity idea for playing with your baby or toddler? Messy play is coming to Art Attack Angus. This week in the studio we have been piloting a Tea Party messy play for babies and toddlers. It is perfect for stimulating your child's senses and practicing fine motor skills. Keep reading to find out about messy play in the studio and how you can make a Tea Party messy play activity for babies and toddlers at home.

Art Attack Angus logo with a photo of a tea party messy play tray for babies and toddlers on top of colourful mats


What is messy play?

 Messy play is a type of activity for babies and toddlers that includes messier than usual play materials. It can include anything that is safe for a baby or toddler to be around. For example, household objects, baking supplies, toys, spaghetti, flour, cereal, jelly, edible paint and anything else you can think of!

Blue and pink sensory rice with a wooden tea set on a messy play tray

Why is messy play important?

 Messy play is perfect for stimulating your child’s senses, encouraging exploration of new textures, and supporting the development of fine and gross motor skills.

A tuff tray on colourful mats in the Art Attack Studio with a tea set and messy play materials

So why did you choose Tea Party Messy Play?

Tea parties are popular pretend play with pre-school children. A tea party offers your child a chance to imitate behaviour they see adults doing all the time! It's also a great way to practice independent drinking skills and have lots of fun pouring the tea pot.

A messy makes tea party with blue and pink sensory rice and tea bags

If you have a tea set at home, why not try kicking it up a notch and add some sensory and messy play elements to your setup? If you don't fancy the mess at home, come and join us in the studio for our Messy Makes classes!


Vikki Blake's Messy Makes at the Art Attack Angus studio

Introducing Messy Makes

Vikki Blake's Messy Makes are the new messy play classes happening right here in the Art Attack Angus studio this October! You can book a spot directly on Vikki's website The Crafty Toddler Company. 

Toddler's hand sprinkling sensory rice into a wooden tea pot on the tea party messy play tray

Sensory Play with Babies and Toddlers

Sensory Play is great for helping your child explore the world. It encourages them to use all their senses. That's why I have included a whole array of exciting sights, sounds, smells and textures to enjoy in this messy play tray.

A toddler wearing a red jumper pretending to drink a cup of tea at Messy Makes for Toddlers classes in the Art Attack Angus Studio


As always, I have avoided focusing on taste because it's important to set a consistent boundary when it comes to art, craft and play materials. Yes, the materials I use are all 'taste-safe' but they aren't edible. So when baby does explore with their mouth, you can say 'no thank you' and remind them that these things are just for playing with.

Baby in a highchair with a spoon and a bowl of soup

Mouthing is important for babies and it's great to introduce lots of new tastes and textures when they are over 6 months old. But please do this at another time, in a highchair where it is safe, and when all the items given to baby are clean, edible and meant to be explored using their mouth. If you would like more information on weaning or child safety please click on the links.

Toddler's hand making a print in the peppermint scented playdough

So what does this tea party have that mine doesn't?

Well, I'm glad you asked! This tea party messy play has peppermint playdough and peppermint tea bags, multi-coloured sensory rice and a mark making activity! 


I include the delicious scent of peppermint for your child to explore with their sense of smell. The peppermint tea bags on a string are also a great way to encourage babies and toddlers who are practicing that all important pincer grip. Messy play is perfect for practicing fine motor skills like pinching and grasping.

Peppermint tea bags add another element of sensory play to this tea party messy makes tray

My peppermint playdough also offers a chance to squish, squash, splat and roll! The recipe is available below if you fancy making it at home. So keep reading for all the details on how to make your own tea party messy play for babies and toddlers.

A peppermint scented playdough cupcake and sensory rice for sprinkles

Sensory Rice

 Sensory Rice is another versatile play material that I've included in this tea party messy play for babies and toddlers. It is perfect for pouring and shaking in the teapot for exciting sights and sounds. The vibrant colours will engage your child's visual skills and encourage visual tracking as the rice falls back onto the tray.

Blue and pink sensory rice combined with a wooden tea set on this tea party themed messy makes tray

Babies  and toddlers can explore the individual grains of rice, as well as big handfuls! Your child can enjoy running their hands through the puddles of rice, or push them down into a deep cupful! Keep the colours separate and then mix the colours up during play, so baby can experience cause and effect as well.

Toddler's hand placing a lid on a tea pot full of blue and pink sensory rice

Older children can be more creative and use the messy play tray for pretend play. My three year old son loved this tea party messy play! He especially enjoyed sprinkling the rice over the playdough to make exciting peppermint playdough cupcakes!

A messy play tray by the Crafty Toddler Company

Tea Bags for Painting & Staining

 Tea bags are also great as part of this tea party messy play for babies and toddlers. Your child can explore them in their dry state and then experiment with dipping the tea bags in water and releasing the tea stain. Perfect for mark making and painting, babies and toddlers will love exploring both the peppermint tea bags and the decaffeinated black tea bags included on this tray. 

Mark making with wet tea bags on coloured paper

So are you ready to get messy?

I would love to welcome you along to Vikki Blake's Messy Makes in October. But while you wait, why not have a go at making a tea party messy play for babies and toddlers at home? Grab my playdough recipe below!

Easy to make scented playdough recipe


  • Large bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Tbsp measuring spoon
  • Tsp measuring spoon
  • Spatula


  • 16 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp table salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp blue food colouring
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 80ml warm water (cooled boiled)


  1.  Measure the flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients
  3. Add the vegetable oil, food colouring and peppermint extract
  4. Gradually add the warm water and mix together until you have a dough
  5. Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball
  6. If the dough is too wet, add a little extra flour. If it is too dry, add a little extra water.

Toddler enjoying playing with a tea party messy makes tray

What about the sensory rice?

You can find step-by-step instructions to make my sensory rice on the Crafty Toddler Company website. 

Messy Makes tea party class with sensory rice and scented playdough

Are you ready to play?

I hope you enjoy this tea party messy play for babies and toddlers. I have so many more activity ideas over on my own blog which you can find here. But why not enjoy all the fun and none of the prep? Book into Vikki Blake's Messy Makes at the Art Attack Angus studio now! Remember to tag @artattackangus and @craftytoddlercompany in your posts. If you have any questions about the studio, please email Lauren and remember to join the Crafty Toddler Community on Facebook!

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