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Posted in Kids Stuff, Life, Parenting | 12 comments

Messy play fun for the anti-mess Mum!

Messy play fun for the anti-mess Mum!

Earlier this week my Sister came to visit for the day and as a retired teacher she brought with her a profusion of messy play ideas and fun to be had with the littles.

MESSY PLAY (gulp) …two words that strike fear into the heart of many anti-mess Mums. But inspired by all the fab messy play ideas from lovely Susanne and Jennie we decided to bring the inside outside for all the fun with half the clearing up!

We started in the garden with a home-made painting easel. We used pegs to create a triangle with my clothes airer and then wound an IKEA paper roll around it in two sections, pegging the paper to the rungs of the airer. Simple and effective. I set this up in the garden with our Early Learning Centre child-safe paints and lots of brushes and rollers in this fab messy play tray from TTS to keep everything together. Then we called Curly Girl and Little Man out into the garden. I’ve been keen to get Little Man painting for a while but the inevitable mess has put me off. He’s already started mark-making with coloured pencils and calls it ‘draw’ so this was the perfect way to encourage his interest with abandon!

Clothes airer easel collage

While they painted we asked them questions about what they were doing, what would happen if they combined different colours together, what they thought of each other’s paintings. Nana helped Curly Girl to experiment with painting on leaves and using them to make prints on the paper. Then Little Man dropped some paint on his leg and then decided that was an even better canvas!

Nana making leaf prints


Curly Girl and Little Man making art together

Once they’d filled the paper as much as they wanted to I rinsed out the tray and filled it with this play sand and some Lego pieces and they had fun creating a desert farm. As always there was some squabbling over the pieces and Curly Girl got very cross with her brother for continually knocking down the sand castles she made with overturned paint pots. Sometimes it’s hard having a baby brother! We distracted him as much as we could so that she could create her masterpieces in peace.

Playing in the sand

Once they were good and mucky my Sister pulled out three miniature water pistols and we all had lots of fun getting wet. The kids were soon almost clean without even realising it.

Little Man with a water pistol

If you’re at all anti-mess, and I admit I have to be in the mood for indoor painting with the two of them, then try getting outside and letting your little ones lose in the garden. They’ll sense you’re less anxious and be more free to experiment with messy-play like paint and sand which is SO good for their sensory development and confidence.

What messy play fun have you had outside this week?

Linking up with:

Vicki’s #BrilliantBlogPosts over at Honest Mummy

Share with Me at Let’s Talk Mommy

Country Kids at Coombe Mill


  1. I love the paper wrapped around the clothes airer! And the reminder that whatever we want to do, we can just as well take it outside! …Finishing everything with a water fight is fantastic too :-)
    This week there’s been a lot of water… Then earth… Then muddy water… With sour apples in that have fallen of the tree a bit to early – with small bite marks in because Mr One has tasted every last one of them!

    Thanks for linking to #brilliantblogposts :-)

    • Ha ha I love that Mr One has been tasting all the sour apples – I hope you had your camera ready for his expression!

  2. Messy play outdoors is great! It makes you less twitchy, doesn’t it? #SharewithMe

  3. This is absolutely perfect for me as I can’t stand messy play hence why my kids haven’t really done it much yet. I don’t trust them in my white and cream carpet house and cream linen furniture. Silly me for having that around children but I am way too nervous to test their sitting still capabilities to play in messy stuff yet. I love this though!!! It would definitely work for us too! Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. Great to have you and hope to see you again tomorrow (Wednesday) for another great round. #sharewithme

    • White and cream – eek! Glad you like this idea :) Another option is to set an easel up in the kitchen (with the door shut if you have that option) on top of a plastic tablecloth to catch any spills and close to the sink so that you can follow the painting up with some water-play and get them clean while you tidy up x

  4. This is my solution for a messy play too do it outside! Such a fun way to do colors w/o the worries of it getting on the wall =) #countrykids

  5. Lots of great creative and messy fun – perfect for the garden! I love the photo of your son painting his legs too. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  6. Great post. Looks like you had a great day with them. Like you messy play strikes fear into my heart so its great when the weather prevails and you can do it outside!x #countrykids

  7. Thats a fabe idea with the airer

  8. I love the way you made the easel out of the airer! Very creative! I am not too fussed about messy play as long as it is outside, we a big fans of floor chalks and painting on those long IKEA paper rolls, though we’re staying at my parents and they are not so keen on mess and the inevitable lack of enthusiasm (from me) to clear things up!!

  9. Yay what a great way to introduce messy play! When the weather warms we tend to do it outside most of the time and in fact our tuff spot lives in the garden right now. Glad u all had fun!!!
    X x x


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