It never fails. At least once a week, I have a conversation with a loving mom that can’t believe we do so many messy activities for kids. I am usually met with opposition from these moms as they think of their kitchen, their carpet and then they think of the mess. I have learned that the mess is a complete and utter show-stopper for some people. For me, I love mess, but I completely understand how some parents would rather not even introduce messy activities to their kids to spare the struggle. I am excited to team up with Bounty as part of the Quicker Picker Upper Crew to bring you this fail-proof guide to introducing messy activities for kids in your home. I guarantee I will take it easy on you and by the end of this post you will want to dip your finger in a vat of finger paint.
Okay, okay… maybe you won’t want to put your fingers in finger paint and get messy up to your elbows but you know what I mean. This guide will make you feel a little more comfortable about grabbing the paper towels, the watercolors, and letting your kids get messy. Let’s get started.
Three Step Guide to Introduce Messy Activities for Kids
Step One: Prepare for the Mess
The name of the game is preparation. Do not take this step lightly. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the better you will feel about your first messy play experience with you kids. If messy play scares you, you will want to set the scene like you are preparing for the a category five storm. Here are some of the must haves for trying messy activities with your kids for the first time ever.
Bounty Paper Towels
Disposable Table Clothes (we get ours at the dollar store)
Reusable Cups (we love mason jars)
Large Tupperware Containers
When you are setting up, start by picking an area of the house that is ready for mess (so get away from the carpet and rugs). If you really hate mess, try taking it out of the house. We use trays for all of our messy play, so that I can easily keep all the mess contained on one small surface and then carry it to the sink for easy cleanup.
For larger messy activities, like sensory bins full of cloud dough, we use large under the bed plastic containers. This makes it super easy to put on a tablecloth on the floor, let the kids make a mess and then put the lid on and sweep up when everyone is finished.
If you are wanting to start with arts and crafts for your messy activities, try sorting and storing your supplies in small containers, ziplock bags, or mason jars. This keeps everything organized and clean and keeps your little ones interested.
Remember, the goal is to not have your child end up like this…
Step Two: Super Simple First-Time Messy Activities for kids
I would be setting you up for failure if the first messy activity I suggested included something with a high potential for a ridiculous mess and laundry. To feel successful, you want to start with something simple and easy. Something that gives your kids exposure to messy play and sensory input but helps you get a feel for playing with your kids.
Start in the bathtub with this fun and easy bath paint recipe.
Play with shaving cream on your windows for easy cleanup afterwards.
Take your messy art outside on a shower curtain so you can just hose them off when you are done.
Everyone loves a good round of mud painting, plus cleanup can be super simple!
Slime is one of the easiest messy activities to get started with, so easy even my friend who told me she would never ever try a messy activity braved the world of slime and now loves it.
Messy crafts don’t have to be scary either. Get started with a simple recycled painted flower pot with easy cleanup.
Try activities with only a two ingredients (one of which is water). Oobleck has to be one of the easiest messy activities to start with.
Use ice and a few simple ingredients for your first messy activity with your kids.
Do a simple soap experiment, that way when it’s time to clean up you already have what you need to clean up.
Playdough makes a great starter messy activity for kids, especially if you are brave enough to get your hands dirty.
Step Three: Simple Clean Up Tips
See, that doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Are you feeling a little more comfortable trying your first messy activity with your kids? I’d love to hear all about them and see your messy activities you try!
Remember earlier how I told you to get a large disposable tablecloth ready? There was a reason. One of my absolute favorite tips for easy clean up, is to put everyone and everything on the tablecloth, wipe the kids down with paper towels and then gather all the mess into the tablecloth and throw it away at one time. If you are wanting to reuse your tablecloth, you can do that too, just carry everything to the trash and dump the tablecloth into the trash, give it a good shake and you are ready for play next time.
Paper towels. Lots of paper towels. We keep our towels handy when we are venturing into messy play and now that we are partners with Bounty, we just let Bounty take care of the stress of the mess for us.
Bounty is there to clean up the messes so parents can enjoy those memorable moments. Bounty is a more absorbent paper towel, which means the roll lasts longer so you don’t need to use as much to tackle the food splats, water spills and messy fingerprints.
Finally, let go of the idea of perfection. Mess can be scary because of the unknown but I want to encourage you to try at least one messy activity with your kiddo soon. Will you promise me that? Let Bounty take care of the mess, and make some memories.