Worrying about mess is the number #1 reason parents don’t encourage messy (and FUN!) activities with their kids. Instead, many send their kids elsewhere (programs!) to make a mess just to avoid the perceived lengthy clean-up.
Give your kids the fun and lessons they deserve by allowing them to make a mess! Creativity can’t always be contained and messy, sloppy, sticky moments can be key learning moments. If you’re a busy mom and your child is old enough, a team clean-up can part of the lesson!
Having a few clean-up tools like paper towels and a spray water bottle ready in advance can make even the messiest summer activities a breeze. It’s about perspective and preparation and if a parent can get over the idea of a mess, the child will learn so much more from the experience.
There’s nothing more fun than getting dirty on purpose! Body painting in their undies or bathing suits will seem downright bizarre and oh-so-daring to your little ones, especially when they are typically reminded NOT to colour on themselves!
Introducing instant pudding as the “paint” makes it an easier clean up than regular paint. A quick wipe or hose down and the pudding is gone! Pudding is edible (obviously!) which is both yummy and more safe for young ones who get right into sensory activities with all their tastebuds! The only thing left behind is a hint of a sweet smell—but who doesn’t love smelling like vanilla or chocolate??
The joy of squishing mud between their fingers is a sensation that kids don’t forget. Whether it’s splashing in an old fashioned nature-generated mud puddle or self-creating one with water and dirt—it’s a joy of childhood that should not be missed.
Dirt can be squished, built into structures like sand castles, even painted with! Given that it’s dirt, most activities happen outside which keep your floors clean, even if your kid isn’t. Clean kids quickly with a wet paper towel and they’re ready for the next activity!
One of our favourite things to do is create massive murals with finger paint. It's super easy! Roll out long rolls of paper outside and tell your children to create a masterpiece. Paint can be squirted right on the paper or into muffin tins or paper plate palettes. Finger painting is about fingers but providing a variety of art tools will expand their creativity—paintbrushes, toothbrushes, sponges, stamps, and cookie cutters are great inspiration. Look around the garden for natural inspiration and paint with a pinecone or stamp with a dandelion head—this is the time to experiment. AND get messy!
Summer is about memories and exploration—mess can remove inhibition and allow kids to learn more about themselves.
Let them get messy. If you’re stocked in clean-up supplies and ready for their fun, you may be inspired to jump into the messy summer fun too!
Check out our Messy Summer Fun section full of tips, tricks and advice to keep on top of summer messes while having a great time.
This Father's Day, skip the store-bought tie and have the kids make something themselves to thank Daddy for all he does! We've got unique craft suggestions from baby to school-ager.
Babies and Toddlers
Any scribbles can turn into the cutest homemade luggage tag! All you need is paper and crayons or markers—let your toddler go to town making any design they like! Then cut and slip into a clear luggage tag holder and add a ribbon to secure. What a personal and adorable way to identify Dad's luggage in the airport!
Little ones LOVE fingerprint stamping! It's a fun way to get them to practice their letter formation too. You can review letter sounds and have them fingerprint over traced letters to make it easier for them.
If you have multi-coloured stamp pads that makes it a bit more colouful, but any pad will do. Trace letters onto white paper and show your little artist how to press and stamp onto the paper.
It's also a very cute reminder of how tiny their fingerprints are at this age!
Older ones with a bit more patience for letting paint dry can make a pet rock family for Dad this Father's Day. You will need a flowerpot base, rocks (this is the fun part for the kids to find!), glue, googly eyes, buttons and paint.
Paint the flower pot base and then glue the rock family on top. Kids will enjoy deciding which one is mom, dad, and themselves of course! Add googly eyes and button noses to complete the look. You could also use pipe cleaners or feathers for hair (or leave Dad bald if that's how he looks!)
The Whole Fam-Damily
What an adorable way to involve the entire family in making a photo collage. Grab a 'D' and 'A' from the dollar store, and set up the kids holding them. The great thing about this idea is that no one needs to pose together! Print the photos and slide into a 3-photo frame. You can also easily combine the pictures with a free online collage program like picmonkey.
Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there—from all the mamas at momstown!
Gardening with kids might conjure up images of junior pulling out your prized hydrangeas and 'presenting' them to you in a bouquet, or having potted plants turned into mud pies by an over-enthusiastic waterer. It doesn't have to be that way—there are plenty of ways to involve kids in gardening that can be fun for them and productive for you!
While we don't suggest that your helpers will be able to distinguish a weed from a flower, you can get your kids involved in the garden and instill both pride and ownership. And the best part is, you can always start again next spring!
Where to plant?
Designate a kid's garden, whether it be a full bed, a corner of the yard, or just an additional plant or flower that they add to the existing garden.
What to plant?
We've got some great suggestions on top crops to plant with kids:
Sunflower: A must for a child's garden. Plant just one or two, since they take a lot of room.
Lettuce/mescluns: A quick and reliable crop to give the child fast results, and also a good way to interest kids in salads.
Radishes: Quick results for the young gardener.
Snow peas: A quick-growing early crop, and fun for kids to eat right off the vine.
Cherry tomatoes: Gotta have 'em! These may be the most fun crop for a child.
Bush beans: Fast, easy, high yield and fun to harvest.
Carrots: Small varieties are recommended for children, as they're easier to grow and more fun to eat.
Potatoes: A 'never-fail' crop. You can plant red or white varieties; red will mature faster.
momstown programs have great ways to get kids interested in living and growing things—it's a great spring theme. You can plant a seed in a cup, make mudpies, or use flowers as a sensory activity for toddlers.