Messy and Sensory Play Shopping List

Today I thought I would share with you some of the things I have bought and regularly buy to facilitate messy and sensory play in our house.

I got quite excited thinking of all the things and looking back at how we have used them, and forward about how we are planning to use them again.

I hope that you find the list useful and if there is anything that you think I have missed please do add it in the comments so that people can see.

Here we go, unpacking shopping for messy and sensory play.

Big Buys
Tuff Spot / Cement mixing tray
Large garden trays
Large roasting tins
Large plastic bowls preferably big enough to sit in!
A water / sand table

For stress free messy play you need a space to play. A space to create small worlds or messy concoctions.

tuff spot

We love our Tuff Spots we have one in the garden and two indoors. Sometimes twins need space to play together and sometimes they enjoy time apart and different activities. We have large octagonal cement mixing trays and large square gardening trays. We also use roasting tins for small worlds and messy mark making.


We have just bought these scan trays as an extra space to play.

If you are doing your messy play on a carpeted floor you may choose to buy some large plastic mats to lay down especially if you are bringing water inside.

We are in a fortunate position that our house is old and in need of renovation so the playroom is where we get messy. The carpet is covered in paint and play dough and we genuinely do not mind. Lots of materials we use for our play can be hoovered up easily so that is always a bonus.

Once you have your space to play it is time to think about what you want to play with. Here are some ideas for a messy and sensory play stock cupboard.

stock cupboard

Messy Materials (with your weekly or monthly shop)

rainbow drops

Pasta shapes
Lentils – different colours


Dried peas
Cous Cous
Bulgur wheat


Popcorn Kernels
Porridge oats
Cannelloni Tubes

pasta stars

Rainbow drops
Sugar stars or other shapes
Cocoa powder

tartar powder

Bicarbonate of Soda
Baking Powder
Cream of Tartar
Baby shampoo, bubble bath and Baby oil

shaving shampoo

Washing up liquid
Shaving foam
Food colouring

custard oats

Caster sugar
Icing sugar
Custard powder
Dream Topping powder
Instant Whip powders
Cotton wool
Tin foil
Greaseproof paper
Cupcake cases
Paper plates
Paper cups

Messy Essentials and Extras
Water Beads

water beads

PVA glue
Beads including glass beads

glass beads and glitter

Pipe cleaners
Pom poms

pipe buttons

Small world figures such as dinosaurs, woodland animals, people who help us and planets
Plastic or wooden cars

figure feathers

Coloured paper
Tissue paper
Crepe paper
Wallpaper rolls
Contact paper (sticky paper)


Submersible lights
Plastic eggs
Play Doh
Gelli Baff
zip lock bags
ice cube trays

Many of the things on this list can be bought from Ebay, Amazon or Pound Shops.

space play

Water beads are florist beads that come in sachets that need to be hydrated before use, they can then be dehydrated and rehydrated several times so are a great value resource for messy play. And they are wonderful for sensory play. Just be careful that little ones do not put them in their mouth!


There are so many other things to add to your play.

Messy play and sensory play can make use of most things.

We add to our scenes and small worlds with pebbles and shells, sticks and stones, leaves and even rubbish from the recycling bin.

We also take our messy and sensory experiences outside as often as we can.


But I hope that this list and the links will give you some inspiration and ideas to get started with messy play.

Have fun! Get messy and let me know how you get on by linking up to Messy Play for Matilda Mae!


And if you are going to let your little ones get messy let them have some fun getting clean too!


14 thoughts on “Messy and Sensory Play Shopping List

  1. Thanks for this list! Given me lots of ideas of bits to pick up next time I’m in town.I love the large pink and blue bowls, something like that would be really useful! Will have to look out for some. Messy play is brilliant! x

  2. we normally go to a playgroup where every week they have a messy play session. we do it it home too, but not too often. I have never heard of a tuff spot trays, but they look great. Love this post as you have also included loads of items that I never even thought of using!

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