Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who's afraid of the big bad mess? (edited)

Edited because I forgot some!

When I taught preschool (pre-Finley) I had 20 three year olds painting, gluing, and making creative messes 5 days a week.  Compared to that, one toddler painting is nothing to stress about.  I find that many parents shy away from doing crafts because of "the mess." Here are some of my thoughts on THE MESS!

  • Start with Mess-Free projects until you and your little one get comfortable with crafting. (see Ziploc painting, ice cube painting, marble art, coffee can painting)
  • Use a paint shirt.  I use old t-shirts. They work perfectly and they are free :)
  • Make sure you use WASHABLE paint/markers/glue.
  • Add a drop or two of dish soap to paint before finger painting. It makes it much easier to wash off.
  • Do messiest projects on bath days.  I am going to assume that you bathe your child on a regular basis.  So, if you are already planning on a bath, who cares if there's some paint, marker, or glue to wash off.
  • I am going to make another assumption. You mop your kitchen floor on a regular basis, right?  If you are planning to mop at nap time (that's when I mop) anyway, who cares it there's a little paint to mop up.  In fact, I find paint much easier to mop up than spaghetti sauce and with a toddler spaghetti sauce inevitably ends up on the floor regularly. For the record I very rarely have a big paint mess.
  • Do projects on a blanket. Rather than messing with high chairs I often just lay a blanket on the living room floor.  If it gets messy I either shake it outside (for food based projects) or throw it in the washer.  Much less labor intensive than sweeping or mopping. 
  • Keep cheap baby wipes handy for quick clean up of hands and tables. 
  • The most important tip: RELAX! Seriously, what's the worst thing that can happen?  In my opinion...this picture makes any little mess well worth the effort.

We do a craft every single day in our house and I almost never have a huge mess to clean up...I promise! You can do it!

Happy (mess-free)crafting!



Too funny! Yesterday was my first visit to your blog, and I commented about my fear of messes, and today you post this. How fitting!

I know, I know, I just need to adjust my mindset.


Megan-Yesterday when you posted about messes, I had this post almost done. Really think about the worst possible mess that could happen. Unless you take a bubble bath while the kids are painting you should be just fine :)

Susan Case

Love your blog. I'm your newest follower. Perhaps you can find time (LOL) to visit my blog.


I have a baby named Eva (eeeeevahhhhh) and she ALWAYS makes a mess! Today we tried your paper-in-the-bag finger painting and she loved it! It's not messy and my Mom loved the beautiful pictures! She couldn't figure out how we did it without the baby putting her fingers in her mouth!

Post a Comment