Christmas Trifle Messy Play for Toddlers


Do your kids love to get messy? Mine certainly do and our Christmas Trifle Messy Play Activity went down on a storm on a recent play date.
christmas trifle messy play for toddlers

We’ve been busy making our Christmas Cards and writing our Christmas lists for  Santa this week.  The kids have been pouring over their toy catalogues trying to decide what to write at the very top.  And I’ve been busy with my own pile of Christmas magazines, making lists of ideas for my home-cards and decorations. Plus a list of yummy food to make over the festive period.

Trifle is top of my list for Christmas desserts.  My Mum or Granny always make a trifle over Christmas and this is a tradition I definitely want to carry on with my own kids.  Who can resist those lovely layers of cream, custard and jelly, along with the delicate sponge and chunks of fruit? We always had to have sprinkles on the top as well.

We had great fun with a Pretend Cupcake Baking Activity recently using water-beads and shaving foam. This set me thinking about how we could use these ingredients again,  but this time to make a trifle for Bella and her friend to play with.

Christmas Trifle Messy Play

At no point should any of the ingredients in this trifle be put into your mouth and/or eaten.

Before Bella’s friend arrived to play, she helped me to make the very messy trifle.


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  • Red,  Green and Yellow Water-Beads.
  • Shaving Foam
  • Glitter
  • A selection of small objects to hide inside the trifle

How to make a Sensory Trifle

Bella scooped the red and green water-beads into the bottom of a large clear glass bowl to form the layer of jelly.

She then added in a layer of yellow water-beads to create a layer of custard.

At this point we added  a selection of red and green, objects which later would form part of the playing part of the activity. We used buttons, pretend coins, marbles, plastic paperclips, beads, lego bricks and bells.

Finally I squirted a layer of shaving foam “cream” over the water-beads and Bella sprinkled lots of glitter on the top to finish it off nicely.

When Bella’s friend had arrived and settled in, we popped on their aprons and pulled up their sleeves. Then sat them alongside each other before placing  the trifle down in front of them. I explained that this trifle was only for playing with and not for eating. They looked a tad disappointed at this ,but with a little encouragement they tentatively placed their hands into the bowl and started to explore the different textures.

This activity should not be done with toddlers who are still at the stage of placing everything they encounter into their mouths first.

Hide and Seek Christmas Trifle Play

I explained the next part of the activity, which was to find the hidden objects  in the trifle.

Bella’s friend did really well with this,  but she seemed happier plunging her hands into the trifle, pulling bits out and letting them fall back down into the bowl.  They were chatting away to each other (as much as 2.5 year olds do) throughout the activity and they were having a lovely time playing  together.

They were both soon literally up to their elbows in shaving foam. I had a towel on standby ready for the big clean up operation.

When they had both had enough (this was around the point they both started to throw the water-beads across the table and down onto the floor!) Bella took hold of the towel and started to clean up her friend’s hands and arms . She then asked him to do the same for her.

This we so cute to watch and it would have been a great help, if they then both hadn’t plunged their hands back into the trifle for a last go!

What is your favourite childhood Christmas dessert and do you make it for your kids now?

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