I get in such a flap and end up ruining art activities for the girls. I mop up as soon as they drip the teensiest amount of paint/glue/glitter. So to avoid arguments getting the art box isn’t my go-to-rainy-day activity. I try to fill the day with other activities but when we went to the playgroup the other day, it suddenly hit me how I was depriving my girls of a really good sensory and learning experience. We’ve since been getting the art box out once or twice a week. This weeks was painting and my golly we made a mess. There was paint up the kitchen cupboards and caked all over P2s hands, feet and legs but I stayed calm and collected throughout following these simple tips:
- Mentally prepare for mess. Sensory play, art or even baking used in the same sentence as children is clearly going to equal in some sort of mess to tidy up. If you mentally prepare and expect nothing less then this is a tip that will help you cope with it all. Don’t just spontaneously get the messy bits out because you won’t be mentally prepared for the stress that accompanies it
- Buy a large plastic sheet or plastic table cloth. I actually got this specific sheet in my photos a few years ago, I think it was specifically for a party table cloth but I’d bought it to be my under sheet for art activities. It’s still in tack. My advice is to either wipe it over after activity or to actually leave it to dry, as you can see I do the latter of options.
- Have baby wipes to hand. Always have baby wipes to hand but don’t use them out until right at the end of any activity you are doing. Baby wipes are awesome little creatures and will get the majority of tough mess off whilst you clear up and get said child to a sink. If you have them to hand you know that if your child decided to wipe their eyes with paint or start eating it, then you can grab a wipe without stressing about where you last left the buggers.
- Take a step back from the fun. Children don’t need to be adult led continuously. I’m obviously not saying for you to walk out of the room leaving them to play with arty things, but sitting a little away from them, or even sitting and reading a magazine or if you’re like me, taking photos and social media-ing them, will help you to cope with the mess and not get involved which will result in arguments.
- Always use children-safe products. This is not only good for them breathing harmful chemicals if you’re using the wrong type of paint, but it’ll give you piece of mind that if they get anything on their brand new top you forgot to change before or in their mouths, it won’t be harmful to them. Reducing stress and the need to intervene with wipes and faffing.
I really hope that my tips have worked. Do you find messy play an easy go-to activity? How do you cope with the mess? Leave a comment below or Tweet me