Most days, I feel like I’m waging a never-ending battle to keep my house reasonably clean- not just because of my kids, but also because of me (I’m an inveterate paper-piler and memento-keeper). My daughter, however, is 3, and making a mess is part of her curiosity and play style at this age. I find that both of us are a lot happier, and she tends to make fewer unauthorized messes, if I give her the opportunity and permission to make a big ol’ glorious mess every now and then. These usually take place on our patio, where the hose is nearby to help make cleanup easier. I also get everything ready for a bath afterwards if necessary! So if your kids also love to make a mess, here are a few fun activities to try with them:
Shaving-Cream Finger Paint: Spread out a tarp or get a large rimmed cookie sheet, squirt some piles of shaving cream on it, and let kids go to town spreading it around. Kids can smooth it out and draw pictures or write letters, then wipe them out and do something different. (If your kids aren’t old enough to understand that shaving cream isn’t for eating, you could use whipped cream instead).
Body Paint: My daughter loves her easel and paints, but she was never happier than the day I let her paint herself. Put some plastic wrap over a muffin tin to protect it, then fill each spot with washable paints (or you can use yogurt, tinted with food coloring). Give kids some paper to start off and then let them use themselves as their canvas! (Note- I did find out that even washable paint leaves a slight tint for a few days… my daughter had blue hands for a while after this project).
Mud Pit: If you have a sandbox, put some water in it and let your kids have some good old-fashioned mud play!
Homemade Slime: I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s next on our list of messy play ideas! Make a batch of homemade slime with water, glue, and borax (find recipes online by Googling “homemade slime”). Let kids play with the oozy stuff and have fun with its unusual texture. (Warning- since this contains borax, it’s not safe for kids who might try to eat it).
Put on your grubby clothes, dress your kids in old t-shirts, prepare your clean-up supplies, and then have fun making a mess with your kids!
Do you have any other ideas for letting your kids have fun with messy play?