Let’s Get Messy! May Book Recommendations + Crafts!

We’re celebrating all things messy this May! Messy play (and sensory play) has a major role in early cognitive development, as well as building language and early writing skills. This kind of play is all about exploring, creating and experimenting, where there’s no agenda and just the freedom to discover!

little blue truck

Little Blue Truck, By Alice Schertle

“Little Blue Truck loves his friends on the farm, and he’s such a good helper when a friend gets stuck! This rhyming text with a fun use of onomatopoeias makes for an excellent read aloud! Extend your story time with some DIY “clean” mud to explore; how did the truck get so stuck?!”

DIY “Clean Mud” mud


  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Coca Powder (for color)
  • Materials:
  • Small Toy Trucks
  • Small Animals
  • Tray or bowl for exploring “mud”

Adapted from: http://www.simplylearningkids.com/2016/05/stuck-mud-little-blue-truck-sensory-activity/

not my bunny

That’s Not My Bunny…, By Fiona Watt

“Touch, feel, pet, tickle! Babies and older children alike love a story that lets them TOUCH the story and get involved! Extend your story time by planting carrots in a spring sensory bin!”


sensory bin


Planting Sensory Bin

For babies: use shredded paper in tub (to avoid choking hazard), small pouring cups to explore filling and dumping, and real carrots!

For toddlers: Use uncooked rice or beans as base and big real carrots to practice planting then pulling out of the ground! Use shovels, cups and rakes for planting!




Splatter, By Diane Alber

“A fun adventure into the world of color mixing, friendship, and working together! Splatter helps up see what can happen when we work as a team. Add more fun by mixing the colors yourself with some messy finger-painting time!”



finger paintDIY Non-Toxic Finger Paint 


  • 6Tbs sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1cup cornstarch
  • 2cups water plus another cup for thinning if needed
  • Food coloring
  • 8-108 oz. mason jars or baby food jars


  1. Add all of the ingredients in a warm pan and stir until it is the desired consistency. If it’s thicker than you would like, add more water until it’s the consistency you would like.
  2. Cool to room temperature. When cooled, add to jars and mix in food coloring

Adapted from: https://theantijunecleaver.com/2016/07/diy-homemade-finger-paint/

dragons love tacos.png

Dragons Love Tacos, By Adam Rubin

“Talking about food is a great way for toddlers to be interested in exploring new things to eat! Especially if we are going to feed it to dragons! This story takes us step by step on how to throw a party for our dragon friends! Continue the play with making your own tacos OR using fresh fruits and vegetables and paint to make some artwork!”


vegetable stamps.pngDIY Vegetable Stamps


  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Non-Toxic Paint


Use the vegetables as a way to explore a different way to paint! You can stamp, slide, and squish the veggies providing a great day of messy play!


Edward Gets Messy, By Rita Meade

“Do we always have to stay clean? This book explores how fun it can be to get messy! After all, you can always clean up after! Have your own messy fun just like Edward with some Rainbow Spaghetti!”


rainbow spaghetti.pngDIY Rainbow Spaghetti 


  • Cook the spaghetti as you regularly would.
  • Drain as usual. Rinse with cool water while still in colander to keep it from sticking together.
  • Once drained and cooled, add a small (very small) amount of oil and toss.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring and mix well
  • Lay spaghetti out on parchment paper to dry for about 1 hour

Adapted From: https://littlelearningclub.com/rainbow-spaghetti-sensory-activity/

And, don’t forget to come get messy at your local Gymboree Play & Music! 

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