Embrace Messy Play, Mom: Fostering Confidence and Problem-Solving Skills

As I carried a large plastic bin filled to its capacity with water through my hallway, drops splashed around my feet. Making mental note to clean them up when returning through later–making another mental note–I continued toward a towel I’d set out in my kitchen floor as my destination.

I had prepared myself for some mess to arise and carefully placed the bin on it; within seconds however, the towel transformed into an imaginary lake full of aquatic life thanks to one imaginative youngster’s imaginative mind.

My son came downstairs with toy boats, animals, villains and heroes that all made quite the splash as he played out scenes with them on our wet kitchen floor. Water soon filled my towel before seeping onto the floor around our bin bin in my home; something truly wonderful was happening during this ordinary day as laughter and the sounds of play filled our home.

An incredible memory was being created. Joy filled our home, alongside all of their mess.

“Muddy play can bring tremendous pleasure”. Now I recall many such instances fondly; cloud dough trails across our tables, piles of Lego bricks on the floor and paint that was missed its target paper were actually an evidence of creativity and happiness, although not always seen that way at first! However, as time went on I tried my hardest to see them that way!

Messes might sometimes make me frustrated or distressed, yet their benefits often outweighed any hassle in cleaning them up – some of my fondest memories have come out of these chaotic environments!

So to the mamas out there who find themselves exasperated by another mess made by their children today, here’s advice from one who misses these times: try pausing to witness its magic!

Watch in wonder as their imaginations run wild and their creativity blooms before your very eyes! Even though time may seem to drag slowly now, don’t take this time for granted – my mother-in-law once told me that she would trade in her now-clean and quiet house any day for loud chaos that comes with children; now I completely understand why!

But that doesn’t mean motherhood doesn’t present its challenges: I understand your exhaustion; you long for some quiet order in your day-to-day routines and need. Sometimes just shifting our perspective can help us through one more day with greater ease or feel joy again – this could allow us to fully cherish each season as they pass – that is the joy and challenge of motherhood!

Related Article: Summer Activities for Babies & Toddlers (Review).

Messy play activities
Messy play can be tremendously beneficial to children’s development – it allows them to express themselves freely while building problem-solving abilities, fine motor coordination skills and hand eye coordination, plus much more! Furthermore, messy play may even help calm anxious or emotionally volatile children while building confidence alongside them! Our favorite messy play activities

Assuming you love magical messes, let me introduce some of our most fun messy activities:

  1. Making Cloud Dough They loved using construction vehicles to scoop, dump and move around the cloud dough they made with Happy Hooligans recipe: eight cups of flour combined with one cup of baby oil mixed using either a whisk or spoon to form cloud dough that could then be molded into people, animals or bricks using various molds. I used their two ingredient recipe and encouraged my children to be creative!
  2. Release Your Inner Artist My boys found an easy yet creative outlet by painting with colored shaving cream in the tub! Simply fill a muffin tin with sensitive-skin shaving cream (which was super fun for painting on tub and shower tiles!), add food color drops as desired, then wash away! (No stains either – score!) When finished they could just wash it all away down the drain! (Plus it didn’t stain!).
  3. Ooey Gooey Slime
    In one container, combine 4-ounces of white glue with one-half cup of water in order to make slime. Feel free to add food coloring. In a second bowl, dissolve one teaspoon of Borax powder in one cup of water before slowly mixing your glue mix with this Borax solution and kneading into desired consistency.
  4. Edible homemade finger paint (check out Momtastic for this one!)
    To create homemade edible finger-paint, whisk two tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 cup flour and two cups water until completely smooth, until mixture thickens, pour into small cups, add food color as desired and let cool before refrigerating completely!
  5. There Is Magic In A Bin of Rice or Beans
    My boys loved playing in large bins of uncooked beans or rice as toddlers; using large spoons, cups, and bowls they enjoyed scooping and pouring – one of their favorite activities- for hours upon hours before having to clean it all up again later on! Both these materials make cleanup quick and painless!