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We all know kids love to get messy – and the kitchen is the centre of their messy world. That’s why we’ve put together some hands-on makes, bakes and activities to try together. They’re great for letting the pair of you have fun together and trying some simple recipes.

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What the parents say

Tip #1: Homemade Playdough

Making your own playdough is easy and just as fun as the stuff you get in the shops – and something you’ll enjoy doing together. Mix 2 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and half a cup of water in a big bowl. Get them to help mix it all up with a wooden spoon. You can even add a drop of food colouring to make different colours.

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Tip #2: Playdough pets

Little kids love making playdough dinosaurs, pets or funny wee monsters. Perfect for a couple of hours on a wet afternoon. All you need is some playdough and a bit of imagination. Why not try using dry pasta, googly eyes and cereal to add faces and features. Don’t forget to give their new playdough creature a name!

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Tip #3: Spoon puppets

It’s easy to transform an old wooden spoon into your little one’s favourite book character. Use marker pens to draw faces and tie on ribbons to bring them to life together. Then you can start telling your own stories and make up your own adventures.

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Tip #4: Green gloop

Messy play is always fun, so why not try making this green slimy gloop with your little one? Just put 2 cups of cornflour, a cup of water, and a couple of drops of green food colouring into a plastic bowl. Get your little one to mix it all up then have fun mashing and moulding it into different shapes together.

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Tip #5: Spotting colours

Kitchens are full of lots of different coloured things, like fruit, vegetables, cans and cups. That makes them the perfect place for a small person to learn all the colours of the rainbow. Try showing them one object, and asking them to point out other items in the kitchen that are the same colour. Don’t make it too easy or the game will be over in a flash.

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Tip #6: Make waves

Kids love playing with water. But why wait until bathtime? Fill up a washing up bowl and place it on your kitchen floor. Now all you need is to give your little one some plastic cups and bottles to make waves, whirlpools and waterfalls together. If it’s sunny, it’s fun to take the bowl outside.

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Tip #7: Potato printing

Cut raw potatoes in half and use them to print children’s paint onto paper with your little one. It’s quick to prepare and will keep them entertained for an afternoon craft session you both enjoy.

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Tip #8: Pasta maraca

Fill an old container, plastic jug, or bottle with dried pasta or rice to make a music shaker. Can your little one shake along to tunes on the radio? If you tip it upside down you can even make the sound of rain indoors – and match the rain outdoors!

This video from our friends at Smart Play Network shows you how to make music with everyday objects from your kitchen, including pots and pans, tin foil and pasta.

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Tip #9: Kitchen drums

Pots, pans and tins make great drums when you hit them with a wooden spoon. (Just make sure there are no sharp edges). It’s fun to compare the different sounds each object makes when your little one hits them. You could use paint and stickers to decorate tins for a fun afternoon activity together.

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Tip #10: Little helpers

Small children love playing with water – so why not get them to rinse fruit and vegetables in a plastic bowl ready for dinner? They’ll love being a wee chef, and will learn lots talking about the food they’re helping to prepare.

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Tip #11: Rainbow rice

This fun sensory activity makes use of something we all have in our homes these days – hand sanitiser!

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