What if you have a toddler and understand why messy play is important, but you can’t stand mess and different textures yourself?
This is sort of my dilemma, I say sort of as I feel the fear but do it anyway, and in the course of the last few months I’ve developed a few ideas for lessening the mess that some of my readers might find helpful.
1) Do it somewhere else
I’ve blogged about supporting our local Children’s Centres, many offer opportunities for messy play, I’ve learned a lot about development through them and Joss has had great messy fun! In the early days before I discovered Pinterest I thought messy play was just painting, but we did food play, shaving foam art, fake snow etc and it exposed me to mess away from my own home, a great intro to messy play!
2) Proper preparation prevents a poor performance
I find that if I plan a messy session properly it reduces my anxieties about mess. This means having a bath run ready for Jossy if we’re paining, having flannels at hand and plenty of plastic sheets for the floors, I have some that I cut and edged so theory can go in the wash after a rough wipe down.
3) Try messy without the ‘wet’ textures
Why not try something that explores other textures? One we like is putting down a piece of sticky back plastic sticky side up and taping to the table, then we use glitter, paper strips and newspaper cuttings to make a mess free picture whilst using pens and crayons for mark making too
4) Keep fuss to a minimum
I don’t really enjoy having sticky or wet hands but having Joss has exposed me to this more, so where possible I get involved and try to think about her learning and see it as an opportunity to re-learn to enjoy textures myself.
5) Contain mess for short bursts of activities
If Joss is bored I use the highchair as a good base for some ‘fruit painting’ with mashed berries and chunky fruits, she gets messy, enjoys a snack and draws on the tray with her snacks. Its also a good place for small activities like play dough etc.