It is 2am, I ate a LOT of dark chocolate earlier, 85% cocoa and I didn’t think about the side effects, especially as I have been caffeine free for 3 years! So now I am wide away and my mind is racing. I was lying in bed trying to sleep and my mind took me back to something that happened this morning, actually I mean yesterday morning!!
I was in an independent lovely little toy shop on my local High Street browsing for a birthday gift when a mum came in with her little girl. It was obvious she was a frequent shopper in this store as she was very chatty with the owner and asked her to put a few things that her daughter had shown an interest in on her list for ‘25th December’. I was listening with warm amusement when the little girl picked up some putty and asked her mum if she could have it. I was really saddened by the mum’s response…”definitely not, putty is banned in our house”. She then proceeded to tell the owner that her son had asked to make slime the other day and she told him ‘absolutely not’, she said she does not do slime or play dough or anything messy in her house. I was really shocked.
Of course, having a child who absolutely LOVES making slime I felt obliged to stick up for the sticky, gooey substance so I simply said “my daughter is the slime queen, we have glitter and glue all over the floor as we speak!” The mum turned to me and said “well you wouldn’t be saying that if it got stuck in your carpet, as it did in mine” then she said her goodbyes and left the shop, dragging her little girl behind her.
As I lay in bed, heart racing, mind spinning I think about her response and consider it. I then think about all the children out there whose parents are worried about getting slime or play dough stuck in the carpet or paint handprints on the walls and I realise how lucky I am to have such an amazing space for my children to explore and get messy in. I then imagine living in a house without that space and wonder what I would do. I am then telling all the parents (in my mind), “you can do it, you can let your child be messy without making a mess”. Here’s how:
Buy a cheap shower curtain
Next time you are in the pound shop pick up a cheap shower curtain (and a few tubs of play dough).
Lay the curtain out on the carpet and sit next to your child and play with the play dough with them. It is so therapeutic!
Once they have finished playing put the play dough away, fold up the shower curtain and store it under the sofa until next time. If you haven’t got time just bunch it all up in the curtain and deal with it later.
If you have a dining table you can put the shower curtain on the floor under your child’s seat to catch any play dough that falls on the floor.
Make slime in the kitchen
If you have laminate or tiled flooring in your kitchen make it a slime safe space! Making slime is just like baking so get all the utensils and ingredients out and get making! Once the slime is made store it in an empty butter tub and let your child play with it on the kitchen floor while you are making dinner. Be sure to set some principles, my daughter makes slime everyday and she knows she is not to take it upstairs or in the car! If they want to play with it while watching TV pull out the shower curtain!
Paint in the bath!!
If your children are anything like mine it doesn’t take long before they have painted their hands or feet when the paints are out. If you are worried about having a trail of little blue hand or footprints going up the stairs when they go to wash their hands (yes this has happened to me) then why not start off where you want them to end by putting the paints and paper in the bathtub and letting them go wild!! You could even experiment with water colours!!
Once they have finished you can take the paints and their pieces of art out of the bath then clean them off before getting them out! Use some string and clothes pegs to hang up the paintings to dry. If you are worried about getting their clothes dirty use an old shirt as overalls by putting the shirt on your child backwards.
So if these 3 top tips to do messy play without getting messy have inspired you I would love to hear from you, or better yet, send me a photo!