‘Tis the season for all of the holiday baking – even in sensory play!

Here’s a fun and festive holiday baking messy play activity we loved. 

A few months ago during the fall we did a pumpkin pie messy play activity that was a huge hit with the kids and I knew I’d eventually want to do it again. So one day while I was grocery shopping I spotted an easy butter tart filling box and immediately grabbed it alongside some mini graham cracker crusts and a can of whipped cream. Holiday baking messy play here we come! 

I kept this messy play a smaller scale activity with less play space, less ingredients and less materials compared to what I had used for the pumpkin pie messy play and they still had the same amount of fun. It was a great reminder that simple can be sufficient, especially with younger children who are happy to explore the simple things in life.  


We always use our Ikea Flisat table for our sensory activities. The table is at a great height for all age groups to play together without struggle, it’s light enough to easily move around and the inner bins are incredibly easy to clean after. For this activity I used two of the shallow, regular sized bins. Alternatively, you could have one bin and one tabletop piece and have the mixer on the tabletop side!

The pie crusts got set onto a little baking sheet – I used the baking sheet that comes in the Ikea DUKTIG toy baking set. I then used two of our thrifted wooden bowls for our ingredients – one bowl of filling, one bowl of whipped cream. The added fun of using the Melissa and Doug mixer was a great choice. I was worried the mixer would be too hard to clean or become damaged from the moisture of the pie filling, however it’s still in perfect condition. If you don’t mind the clean up, you could always set up this holiday baking messy play alongside your play kitchen for a full baking experience!

We have a long line of bakers in our families so the older two who participated jumped right into knowing what to do. They had a great time teaching the twins how to add ingredients to the mixer and, well, the twins mainly cared about covering every inch of their body in sticky pie filling. We experimented stacking the filling and whipped cream in different layers in the pie crusts to see what would look best. 

While they mixed and dumped we talked about what kind of foods we liked to make, which ones were the most fun to make and what kind of baked goods we liked to eat. Afterwards I stepped back and let them explore how they wanted to explore, watched the older ones encourage the younger ones to use the mixer and of course there was a good amount of taste testing!

Every holiday season that I can remember we’ve had butterscotch tarts for our Christmas dinner dessert and I think that made this holiday baking messy play even more fun and special for me. While I’m excited for the day it’s my turn to teach them how to make the butterscotch tarts I’m not ready for them to be old enough – so I’ll stick to holiday baking messy play activities instead for now!

I know cleanup for messy sensory play activities can be a big hassle and sometimes feel so wasteful! That’s why I loved keeping this one simple – less cleanup afterwards. Both the filling mixture and the whipped cream are fairly sticky – and the filling mixture is a tough one once it hardens. So this was a cleanup that I did almost immediately after playing to avoid the headache. For toys like the Melissa and Doug mixer it’s important to remember submerging them into water can damage the toys! Wooden toys can crack and expand after too much water exposure. 



Be sure to check out some of my other holiday themed posts!







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