With the snow falling outside and temperatures plummeting I decided that the littlest members of the family should hide inside until that school run dragged us out. Toddlers inside all day is not my favourite way to spend the day. It can be a challenge to keep them occupied. It is even more of a challenge to keep them occupied with something other than tearing the house apart or taking unnecessary risk. So at some point I always head to messy play or crafting and usually regret it when I am tidying up, but wow do the kids love messy play and so we keep on going back to it.
Why is messy play important?
Apart from the fact that kids just love to get messy and have a go at stuff messy play is important for a number of developmental reasons and does actually support learning. Some of the reasons that messy play is important are:
- That it encourages their curiosity, sparks their imagination and inspires them to explore
- That it helps them to concentrate on a task
- That is helps them to learn to play independently
- That it encourages them to develop their communication and language skills
- That it promotes their physical development
And so I despite the fact that just in this one messy play session my jumper got covered in blue paint and one of the girls socks are a right off we will always continue to do messy play. So I just slap on that smile and try to stop myself from controlling the messy play activity. I do struggle when everything just goes brown due to over-painting and have a tendency to jump on in and direct operations. Ohhh! I am really trying to bite my tongue…..
This messy play idea keeps it really simple just using a small canvas each, some paints, some glitter (as glitter makes anything look better) and a stamping shape or two. We are basically doing mark making and experimenting with colour – it turns out everything leads to grey sludge!
The original idea was to create snowmen on the canvas, but it didn’t quite go according to plan. One of the girls did have a really good go at a snowman, but her sister decided to go off piste and create a study in blue and sludge! More of a modernist in style I suspect…
The great thing about messy play painting on canvas is that when it does go wrong (as long as you are quick) you can simply wash the paint off under the tap and they can start again. At last count they were on their third go round with the same canvas. I am not sure any of these creations will be making the gallery wall that we have created,but as you can see from the pictures they were very much into it and enjoying the messy play. I think they loved most that as soon as they were finished they could start again.
This activity has given us a great chance to talk about and have a go with different colours, different paintbrushes and stamps. They are learning what they can create so who cares if it isn’t quite worthy of the Tate just yet!
In the end I couldn’t control the controlling me and so I did also ‘help’ with with a couple of canvas so that they could see what the stamps did. We printed some butterflies and bees. These foam stamps are just from the pound shop, but have been used by all four kids so many times. The canvas themselves were bought from amazon (Affiliate link)
I didn’t get expensive ones as I knew that lots would be ruined, but the ones from the pound shop and wilkinsons my first ports of call for crafting were far too big to put up more than one or two so this pack was just perfect for the job.
After we did these I gave them back their canvas and they went wild with the stamps. It really was messy play then! We ended up slapping a load of glitter on their uncontrolled versions so and they will also be heading to our canvas wall! Our canvas wall is really our memories wall as it is creations done by close family and friends as well as us. It is a wall that reminds us of those we love as well as looking colourful and cheering up our family room. I only started it last year and it will always be a work in progress. We love it and add to it whenever different people come to visit so its almost like a guest book, but one that we actually look at and appreciate everyday.
So that’s it canvas, paint and toddlers – it’s messy but fun!