As it’s the school holidays, and it has been raining, I wanted to think of some messy play activities to do indoors. Luckily, we had recently been sent some oilcloth from WipeEasy tablecloths which works really well as a protective mat and a surface for messy play!

oilcloth messy play sensory play paint shaving foamThe cloth we have been sent is really big so it covers most of the surface of the boys’ playroom. I haven’t cut it at all, as with 3 of them I think its better for them to have the biggest possible surface to play.

boy lying on oil cloth

Here you can see the pattern and texture behind Mr Z!

There are loads and loads of designs on the website! This quite plain and neutral design is good for my messy play purposes as it doesn’t distract too much from the activities.

oil cloth mat in the playroom for messy play


If we are indoors, I would normally limit anything too messy either to the kitchen table, or put it inside a baby bath for the children to play with – but as we had made such a big play surface here I thought it would be great for them to have the chance to get stuck right in to the middle of the play and get really messy if they wanted to!

I went for some simple ideas – shaving foam and paint. Both of these are things my children enjoyed a lot when have done messy play at the children’s centres. It made me smile to see Mr Z acting out all the same kind of stories with his engines and the shaving foam as he has always done since he was quite small! – Aaarghh it’s Thomas, covered in snow – Oh noooo etc

shaving foam

Shaving foam – Making roads, hand prints, and exploring textures.

I would have put more shaving foam down, if not that we were almost running out! Still, it left more room for the paint to be included too. The shaving foam started off originally in neat lines marking out parking spaces for the toy cars, and a couple of roads. Soon enough this was all squished and squashed and run over by the boys and the cars as they explored the texture.

shaving foam messy play

Mr T engrossed in making tyre tracks

There was plenty of space for everyone on the mat.

3 brothers playing in messy play

Enough space for everyone (excuse the mess of the toys in the background!)

The paint is great for exploring mark making.

mark making with paint on oilcloth for messy play

Messy mark making

As Mr Z is 5 and able to write quite well now, I asked him to take the paint bottle and squeeze his name onto the oilcloth, which he was able to do and enjoyed. Like the shaving cream roads, it did not stay neatly on the mat for long as the cars and engines were driving through it as well as curious hands smudging and exploring the paint!

I provided the boys with paper to make some car track pictures by driving the cars through the wheels and onto the paper to leave their tracks. They have enjoyed doing this in the children’s centre in the past too.

They also enjoyed just playing with the paint directly on the oilcloth mat. This is quite a new idea for them, as it’s the first time they have done messy play on this particular type of surface so they enjoyed that. It is very easy to clean, you do simply just wipe it, so it is fine for them to put the paint all over the oil cloth and smudge it everywhere.

When it started to get really messy, they wanted to go and wash their hands which is all part of the fun for my little ones as they love water play

washing hands water play red water

Red water!

Because their hands had been so painty, all the water was red which made it quite fun for them too!

messy play painted hands

Caught Red Handed!

Looking at their hands, it’s not really a surprise they turned everything red!!

After we finished, I let Mr R join in with some of the wiping of the oil cloth as he loves wiping things down with baby wipes in the house (He thinks he is doing the cleaning :D) Wiping paint off the oil cloth is quite satisfying as it comes off so easily, so it was nice for him to have a chance to join in! I am glad that it all just comes off with a few wipes, as I rather that than having to submerge the whole thing in water and scrub – as then you have the problem of where to keep it until it dries. I have already been through the experience of accidently putting away a still slightly damp aquadraw and having it go all mouldy (tbf to aquadraw it had been drenched with cups full of water not used as per instructions, so my fault rather than fault of the product!) – but I would really like to avoid anything like that happening again.

The boys really enjoyed these activities. It has been quite a while since they played with shaving foam, and since they have had such a free full body experience with paint where they have the chance to walk through it and get right in the middle of it!

baby in painty pyjamas messy play

Mr R – In the middle of the messy play!

Mr R, in his PJs, covered in paint, right in the middle of the action! 😀 I let him do the activity in his PJs after all the chance to stay in PJ for half the morning is one of the great things about school holidays 😉 I knew he would get covered so best not put him in good clothes, that way I don’t have to worry what he gets up to!

I’m sure we will be doing more messy play indoors if the weather doesn’t improve over the holidays and this Oilcloth mat will come in really handy for that. It is very versatile so I will keep using it for all sorts of ideas and activities, to keep the house clean protect the carpet!

I am linking up with the Summer Play linky over at Yummymummyflabbytummy. This linky will be hosted over several blogs over the summer, and I am hosting the final week:

1st August – Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy
8th August – Over 40 and a Mum to One
15th August – The Life of Spicers
22nd August – Mummy of Two
29th August – Mummy’s Little Stars
5th September – My Mummy’s World
12th September – Red Rose Mummy
19th September – In The Playroom

Summer Play

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