16th June 2016

Messy play ideas (without the mess!)

There is nothing guaranteed to bring some mums out in a cold sweat and have them reaching for the gin quicker than those two innocent little words: Messy Play. Sarah Cawood here to tell you some tricks on how to maintain clean freakishness whilst they have fun.

I envy those mums that really don’t care about the mess, will clear it up later, and let their kids express themselves whenever they feel like it and I wish I was like that but I’m not, and I’m not likely to change any time soon.  Since I was seven years old I’ve been anally tidy and used to clean my room myself every Sunday without fail (I know, weird kid). So when the babies came along and decided that finger painting was The Best Fun Ever, I had to come up with some mess contingency plans. Fast.

I’m happy to say that I’m a bit more relaxed about things than I used to be (gin consumption is now back under control too) but I do have a few tricks I use that keep mummy off the bottle. So if you, like me, are a mummy that likes to keep the mess at bay, then this article is just for you!

Firstly, a small, inflatable paddling pool is your friend for containing messy play: we mainly use it as a play dough arena in our house which stops that bloody stuff getting stuck on your soft furnishings.

I’m a right killjoy during the winter months when messy play has to be contained indoors. That said, if they really want to get stuck in with the painting, then my oilcloth table cloth is indispensable. Oh and naturally, I have a few of those clothes cover-alls so clothes don’t get painted too. However, come the summer months: WHOOPPEEEEEE! I chuck ’em outside and let them go mad, because really, the patio can be hosed down, right?

Now THIS one is a dream. You can take your play dough and….well, whatever, because there’s a new messy kid in town that ISN’T AS MESSY. Slime. It’s easy to find instructions on how to make it at home online and it’s the ultimate in non-messy messy play. Plus the kids LOVE it. A peaceful cup of tea whilst they get their slime on? Don’t mind if I do.

I have, however, saved the best til last ladies. You see, the thing about messy play is that really, there’s no such thing as non-messy messy play so how about outsourcing the mess to someone or somewhere else? I always feel like mum of the year when we’ve been to a playgroup and done arts and crafts, painting and play dough. Then I get to go home and leave the mess there. It’s worth every penny of the two or three quid it costs to go.

Now then, you must excuse me, but my two year old daughter has just discovered the finger paints in the highest of the toy boxes and I’m fresh out of gin.


@mushmums @sarah_cawood

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