painting activities

More Messy Play Fun & Parent Advice: De-Stress and Embrace the Mess

Guest blogger Amy K. Williams shares these ideas for more messy play fun. I can hardly wait to try them, especially the rainbow powder activity. Enjoy! Or, in her words, “De-stress and embrace the mess.”

Three Kid-Friendly Crafts that Celebrate the Craziness of Chaos

Parents spend a good part of each day cleaning up after kids. Handprints on appliances, crumbs on the floor…and don’t get me started on the bathroom disasters (yuck!). Kids make messes; their ability to tornadically strew random toys and leave trails of crumbs seems to be innately programmed into their little strings of DNA.

While, as parents, we spend hours each day trying to stop them from messy mischief–and to avoid cleaning up the debris—sometimes messes are fun. Yes, there are days when we need to encourage our kids to go crazy with crafts and immerse in muck, mire and messiness!

Playing with different textures and even engaging in messy play is healthy and good for kids. As parents, no matter how much those disasters pain us, we need to promote getting down and dirty with the playtime!

If your OCD mom tendencies are clamming up and freaking out (mine are!), try to chill out. We’re all in this together. After all, it takes a village…right? Right?! Get ready to go elbow deep in crazy messy fun, because to usher in the colorful month of May (flowers!), we’re about to get crafty! Go change into some old clothes and have fun with this trio of cute, artistic and oh so messy craft ideas:

Paint Splatter T-shirts

more messy play fun
What you need: Plain white t-shirts (try discount stores), fabric paints, old clothes (that you can get dirty)

Have kids channel their inner Jackson Pollock! Go out in the backyard for this paint activity, because the colors will literally fly! Put shirts on a hanger or secure them on a clothesline, have kids dip paintbrushes in the paints and flick, splat and drop the paint all over their white shirts. Blank canvas in wearable form! Yes, it will get messy…but that’s why you’re outside!

Rainbow Powdermore messy play fun

What you need (for DIY): Cornstarch, water, food dye, a mixing bowl, food processor and gloves

Have you participated in a Color Run? Runners are doused in fun colorful powder that makes you feel like you just ran through a rainbow. Powders are non-toxic and can be purchased at different websites (even Walmart), and they’re fairly inexpensive. However, you can make your own…and, frankly, I’m all over DIY. And so are kids! The website A Beautiful Mess has a recipe for making the colorful powder (while it isn’t difficult, you need a few days to dry out the powder). Whether you make your own unicorn-inspired powder or buy online, the fun is in the experience. Rainbow powder is meant to be thrown! Take kids outside and let them dual it out by dousing each other in rainbows. And if you’re feeling really magical, add some glitter to the powder!

Mud Kingdoms

more messy play funWhat you need: A hose, dirt, imagination and….old clothes!

Oh, dirt…it’s the most omnipresent debris in kid clean ups. But when you mix it with water, simple dirt becomes malleable mud. Drench your dirt and let kids play in the oozy mucky mud. I know, I know…it’s a mess. But they love it! And the texture is good for sensory play. Encourage kids to create their own mud architecture. Let them build cities or ‘bake’ mud pies. The mud can be whatever they want it to be…let them sculpt. Mud is the ultimate organic substance!

A child’s life doesn’t have to always be clean and structured, and it’s good for kids to know that it’s ok—and even fun—to get messy and dirty sometimes. Let kids engage in colorful and muddy activities and give them permission to make a mess! The best part: the messes can be cleaned up with your garden hose! Now go get crazy and make a huge mess with your kids!

amy-kristine-williamsAmy. K. Williams pops over to visit and shares great ideas for fun and learning. Thank you, Amy for more messy play fun and your advice to us. Amy  is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. Wonder if her house has rainbows…


Mayhem and Messy Play #6: Messy Painting Activities for Kids

One paint brush and a few colors can engage kids in fun and learning over and over again, so it’s worth it to set up some messy painting activities. Some communities have art centers with studios where kids can go and paint up a storm.messy painting activitiesIn the history of the world, art has a special place, and that includes paintings. As adults, we visit museums with masterpieces worth thousands and even millions of dollars. Works of art can affect our emotions deeply. In a way, they are time machines, allowing us to not only see, but feel the past.

children's art activities

For children, painting touches many levels. Physically, it gives kids the opportunity to practice their coordination and motor skills. It’s also highly sensory. Mentally, children are developing the skill of visualizing, or seeing images in their mind. There are other thinking skills too, like choosing, patterning, organizing, concentration, problem-solving and more. Emotionally, kids are exploring another way to express themselves besides words and behaviors.

painting for kids

It would be wonderful to have a home studio where we didn’t have to worry about kids, messes, and paint but there are solutions. Old sheets, newspapers, and plastic pieces can protect floors and tables. Spreading a tarp out in the yard gives lots of space to paint. Messy painting activities only need 3 ingredients: colors, some kind of tool, and a surface to put the paint on. Here are some tips from previous posts:

Ideas for paint materials: (in addition to regular paints)

liquid paints, paint dabbers, paint crayons and sticks, food coloring, colored shaving foam, jello, puddings, water, mud, powdered chalk and water, candies like smarties,/skittles/m & m’s soaked in water, koolaid powder

Various paint surfaces: (besides paper and parts of the body)

driveways, sidewalks, plain side of cereal boxes, old sheets, leftover wood scraps, aluminum foil, rocks, ice cubes,  newspaper, fences–painted with plain water, coffee filters

Different tools for painting: (as well as brushes of all sorts)

q-tips, hands, feet, spray bottles, sponges, marbles, string, bubble wrap, straws–for blowing paint around, plastic spoons and forks, potatoes and other fruits and veggies, stampers, old toothbrushes, paint rollers, pastry brushes, leaves, branches, toy dinosaurs and cars

Alternatives to set-up: (other than easels)

floors, counter tops, tables, big trays, empty bathtubs, big boxes,

Tips for preparation and clean-up: (sanity savers)

wear play clothes or just essentials, cover the floor or other surface with newspaper, spread a tarp on the deck or patio, undress kids and set up paints and paper in the bathtub all ready to be rinsed when done, keep a hose handy outside, have camera ready for unbelievable moments

helping children develop creativity

Maybe if we think of art play as creating art work, we’d include more messy painting activities for kids?

How to Steal a March #7: Art Play Boosts Brain Power

We often don’t think of it as serious or important as academics, but art play boosts brain power. Art play helps develop the important skills of visualization and creativity.pre-printing activities for young children

Brains think in words, but we also think in images. When we hear the words in a story, we create the images in our mind. When we describe an event to someone else, we use words to help them picture what happened too. Reading books and telling stories is word play; art activities are image and sensory play.

painting for kids

Usually, when we think of art activities for kids we think of drawing. Art tools for drawing aren’t limited to crayons. They can include chalk, paint, sticks, rocks, buttons, and recycled and nature items of many kinds. Besides paper, kids can create on sidewalks, driveways, dirt, decks, cardboard boxes and sometimes, walls. That’s not such a great choice, however. Kids can make pictures with a stick in the dirt, or rocks on a beach. The recycling basket often has treasures for art with school tools

When it comes to painting, food colors, fruits and vegetables, and even clear water are more choices. Brushes can range from fingers to old toothbrushes to marbles rolling around on a tray.
In addition to drawing, hands love to play with play dough. Whether you make your own at home or purchase it at a store, kids of various ages can play with it over and over. There are ­countless variations of play dough with different textures to appeal to the sense of touch. Another part of it’s appeal is that kids can create whatever they want. The possibilities are unlimited.

art play with rocks

We might think of creativity as a talent we are born with. It is also a skill that we can help kids develop by letting them explore and create. Businesses are finding the value of creativity as they look for innovative ideas and solutions. Have you heard the saying to “steal a march” on someone? This refers to having an advantage over somebody. Art play boosts brain power and can do just that–give kids an advantage. What kind of art play might happen today for your child?

February Friendship #6: Kids Can Be Friends with Art Tools, Toys, and Other Materials

Not all children enjoy art activities, but kids can be friends with art tools and toys, things like crayons, chalk, play dough, paper, scissors, glue and even chocolate pudding. That’s not an art tool, you say? Certainly it isn’t usually, but every now and then, it can be. Not all kids like drawing with crayons … Continue reading February Friendship #6: Kids Can Be Friends with Art Tools, Toys, and Other Materials

Kids Chinese New Year Painting Craft – (X Marks the Spot)

Did you know this is the most celebrated holiday in the world? Here’s a kids Chinese New Year painting craft that breathes fire. Well, not fire, but fun. We adapted this from a thumbprint painting activity at Fun Handprint Art. At this time of year, you may be fortunate enough to get up close to … Continue reading Kids Chinese New Year Painting Craft – (X Marks the Spot)

Olympic Art Activities for Kids: Olympic Games #12 – Art Wins Medal Too

Olympic art activities for kids aren’t just crafts. Nor are the Olympics just about sports. Did you know at one time, there were Olympic medals for art? From 1912 to 1948, art competitions were part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded in five categories for art inspired by sport. Sports and art do not contradict … Continue reading Olympic Art Activities for Kids: Olympic Games #12 – Art Wins Medal Too

Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Games, where each country’s team will have a flag and flag bearer, inspires this make a flag craft for kids. Last month, both the United States and Canada celebrated their major holiday. For each of these, we made flags. To make a sort of US flag, use a rectangle … Continue reading Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

Bubble Play and Learn #21: Bubble Art Activity

Bubble packaging is not just fun to pop. Along with a few other recycled items, it can be used to create some amazing bubble art for a play-of-the-day. If you’ve ever done any wall painting, you’ve likely used a paint roller. You can make one for kids by rolling bubble wrap around a cardboard tube. … Continue reading Bubble Play and Learn #21: Bubble Art Activity

Paint Fireworks Craft for New Year’s Eve

Staying up for fireworks can be hard for kids—and adults. Instead, kids can enjoy this paint fireworks craft in all their favorite colors before bedtime. Besides paint, use a couple of toilet paper rolls. Because the rolls are harder to cut than thin paper, adult hands need to do the scissor part. Cut many narrow … Continue reading Paint Fireworks Craft for New Year’s Eve

Kindergarten Readiness: Painting for Fun and Learning

Just in case your fridge isn’t totally covered with art work, today’s play-of-the-day that starts with a p, like A pril, for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning, is a painting activity. Kids can paint with anything: brushes, hands, feet, fingers, marbles, wheeled toys, q-tips, rollers, dabbers, and salad spinners. Paint can be practically anything … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Painting for Fun and Learning