We have reached that point in the summer, you know the point, where your zest and excitement is waring down and the stress of all that needs to be done for the school year is starting to peek around the corner. But wait! There is still time to fit in some fun with the kids before all the ‘to dos’ for the school year have to get done! But how? It is simple, let your kids make messes. I know, it is both easy and terrifying at the same time but I promise you, children LOVE to make messes. They will remember these moments for a long time, you will be the coolest mom ever AND guess what, it is great for their development. That is why I put together this list of 10 messes that every child needs to make this summer- but I didn’t leave you hanging, I am also going to tell you how to clean those kiddos up!
Trust me, young children not only enjoy messes, it is great sensory motor development, the experience lets them explore not only textures and creativity but vocabulary and descriptive words too. I am trying to get you on board- is it working?! Not yet? How about this, there is one thing I always have on hand that was able to clean up Avery (or her friend or cousin) after every single one of these messes with no problem and it was under $2? What is my secret you ask? Wet-Nap. Isn’t that great? Softer and stronger than before and now moisturizing with aloe, but still under $2 at Walmart, and if you grab this coupon for $.55 off any Wet-Nap product, they are under $1.50! You really can’t beat that.
Have I eased your mind? Then let’s get to the messes! Wet-Nap is my go to for cleaning up Avery, but when it comes to the surfaces, I plan ahead by going outside where I can hose things off afterwards. If I am inside, I either cover the table with butcher style paper or plastic tablecloths so the mess is contained. If you are nervous, these precautions should make clean up easy. There are suggestions after each activity to make it super easy to clean up, so let’s get started!
Feet Painting/Walking Painting– this one is so much fun and a completely different experience for most kids to stick their feet in the paint and walk across paper outside. Clean up– do this outside so you can hose off the side walk and put a chair at the end so your little one has a place to sit while you wipe of their feet with the Wet-Nap.
Shaving Cream– All you need is shaving cream and food coloring! This fluffy version of painting is a completely new painting experience! Clean up– lay out newspaper so you can quickly clean up while children start wiping their own hands with the hand wipe.
Tennis Ball Painting– This is so much fun for older kids! Just put tennis balls in paint and bounce them around on the paper! Clean up– Do this one outdoors and put down a lot of paper or a couple of plastic tablecloths, kids can easily use hand wipes after this one.
Slime– This is just good ol’ sensory fun, made with Metamucil, water and food coloring, this is totally kid safe and is great to do at the dining room table on a tray, plastic placemat or cookie sheet. Clean up– Add paper under the cookie sheet for extra protection and keep the hand wipes on hand nearby.
Gelatin Cube Building– These cubes were made with food coloring, water and plain gelatin and Avery loved stacking them and creating castles. This is also great because the blocks are cold and perfect for a hot day. Clean up– designate a vinyl table cloth for messes only and put it on the tables with Wet-Nap as your centerpiece, prepping ahead helps keep messes contained while still allowing for exploration.
Sidewalk Chalk Paint– This is an easy recipe with cornstarch, water and fruit drink mixes that children love to paint with on a hot day outside. Clean up– This one easily comes of the concrete with water and of hands with Wet-Nap.
Mud Play- This on takes very little prep work, a sand box and hose is all you need! Kids love mud, and this is the one that reminds us of our own childhood so let’s make sure our kids have these memories too! Clean up– If you are doing this in your own backyard, strip off all muddy clothes and shoes and initially wipe down with hand wipes before going to a bath. Mud can be hosed off outside surfaces or you can wait for it to dry and sweep it off concrete.
Just Enjoy a Popsicle– This is a summer must! But it is also a summer must that this be done outside! Popsicles are known for a sticky mess, but this is nothing the Wet-Nap can’t handle. Clean up– wrap the popsicle with paper towel if it gets too cold for little hands.
Colored Spaghetti– This is just cooked spaghetti colored with food coloring and a splash of oil so they don’t stick together. This is a fantastic sensory experience but also a great way for little fingers to practice their cutting. Clean up– put the spaghetti in a disposable tray and cover your table, and of course, have hand wipes on hand.
Last but not least, FINGER PAINTING! This one is the go to and Avery’s favorite. I thought I would break this one done so you can see exactly how I set up to make sure Avery can make a mess, but how I contain it so it doesn’t make it’s way all over the house. First, here is what I do before she even starts, cover the surface, put out all the supplies needed (paint, paper, brush and so on) and have the Wet-Nap canister nearby.
Let her go to town, because everything is right here, she won’t need to get up for anything and therefore, won’t get paint on chairs, walls and so on.
Once she is done I quickly hand her a couple Wet-Nap wipes as I hang up her picture or put it to higher ground, throw brushes in the sink and roll everything else up in the paper or plastic table cloth and throw it away. By that time she thinks she her hands are ‘clean’ and I go over, grab another wipe, and finish the job. That’s it!
I hope I have inspired you to make a mess and clean it up! I picked up my Wet-Nap hand wipes in the napkin aisle of Walmart, because I am always there anyways, the coupon makes it impossible to pass up!