Physical Development

Wibble Wobble, Messy Jelly learning on a plate

Indoors or outdoors, Daisy regularly enjoys messy play.  Of course some of her messy play is spontaneous and sometimes we plan activities for her.  Messy play can involved all different types of media from mud and compost to things found in the kitchen like flour, custard and jelly.

Setting out the play

For a recent messy play activity, Mummy had prepared three bowls of jelly along with a selection of kitchen implements  for Daisy to use with the bowls of jelly.  As jelly has the potential to be a really messy activity, Daddy joined Daisy giving him the opportunity to talk with Daisy as she played.

Three large bowls, red, purple and amber, of jelly sitting on a stove top, ready for a messy play activity.


Right from the start Daddy talked to Daisy about the sounds they could made with the jelly; from the sound of sticking the spoon into the set jelly and pulling it out, to the sounds coming from the potato masher as Daisy squashed it down on the jelly.  Listening to the sounds they were creating and describing what they are doing is an incidental opportunity to enhance Daisy’s language skills.  Next time she has jelly to eat they can recall some of these sounds.

Other aspects of the play with jelly

As Mummy had prepared three different coloured jellies for Daisy to play with there was also an opportunity for her to see what happens as you mix two different coloured jellies together.

In the past, Daisy has played with lentils, using a funnel to fill containers with lentils; she has containers to fill with water in the paddling pool and this time she had containers to fill with jelly.  Daisy used different spoons to fill containers with jelly and this process is helping her to see how jelly is different from lentils and water.

A messy play activity in progress, a child is using an ice cream scoop to serve some jelly (or jello) to an adult who is holding a cup. A potato masher and other cup and cookie cutters are visible.

After messy play with jelly you can complement the experience through stories such as The Jelly That Wouldn’t Wobble by Angela Mitchell & Sarah Home; and be sure to include the Jelly On A Plate rhyme/action song. There’s several different versions – here’s a different one.

As Daisy is almost three we’ve started to include some of the development goals that nurseries use for 3 – 5 year olds.  Messy play activities give children first hand experiences of investigating and exploring while they’re also developing muscles, different grips and coordination as they use different implements.

This messy play can last as long as your grand child is captivated with the play.  Some children are unsure about the feel of jelly and other will enjoy the sensory opportunity.

Granny Smith says –

Other jelly messy play activities can include ‘hiding’ treasure such as pieces of fruit or small sweets in the jelly when you make it, to be discovered during the play; or add some food essence to the mix to give the jelly an extra fruity smell for even more of a sensory experience.

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