Mia and myself do a lot of arts and crafts. When Ava goes down for her afternoon nap, we get paint and brushes out and get creative. So far we’ve kept it fairly clean though, home made play dough and finger paint is as adventurous as we’ve gotten. Oh, and we made a fab cardboard dolls house…must post a picture of that soon.
But recently I’ve been reading a few parenting blogs and have been inspired by all sorts of messier play. The girls do loads of messy play in the creche. I’ve seen pictures where they’re covered from top to toe in paint, shaving foam, paper and glue, sand,… Parenting blogs suggesting messy play use food colorings, cooked spaghetti, dry pasta, loads of paint, flour, water, sand…anything at all really to stimulate the senses. Sounds great fun. But keep in mind that Ireland (and UK I suppose) has long winters, so a lot of that messy play happens INSIDE the house. Taking that the girls get a lot of the sensory challenges in the creche, you’d think I’d be happy to stick to the plain coloring in a coloring book with crayons bit in my own home. But to be honest…I feel like I’m missing out a bit. I want to see my girls live in action. See how they take to messy play. See how their creativity develops. How they deal with the sticky yucky textures. So last Friday I decided to give it a go with Mia. We put Ava into bed and I let Mia loose with paint (I know…this was a first, so we kept it fairly tame).
I gave her four different colours poster pain, a big paint brush and taped a large sheet of paper onto the kitchen floor. I stripped her down to her underwear and T-shirt and let her off. How did it go?
She went for yellow straight away, made a few dots onto the paper and looked at me. “Can I paint my feet?” she asked me, thinking I was definitely going to say no. “Yes”, I said, “Go ahead Mia”. Big smile appeared on her face. Within a few seconds the kitchen floor turned yellow, because she of course didn’t get the concept of “stay on the paper Mia”.
And just then my mum rang on Facetime. She was able to follow our messy play experience live. It filled her with horror. “Saskia”, she is walking around now”. “Oh yeah, that’s fine, not to worry”.
It was going well, she picked out pink to paint her handies. As I was taking a few pictures, I was already envisaging a master work at the end of our session.
But yes, you hear me coming, we didn’t get that far. “I must go for a weewee Mama”, she said as she ran (spreading yellow paint out the kitchen as far as the toilet under the stairs now). I laughed and told my mum I’d better hang up, I could deal with a bit of paint on the kitchen floor, but didn’t fancy cleaning up wee. Mia opted for her potty, dragged it into the kitchen, put it next to her painting but missed target (don’t get me wrong, she is well toilet trained at this stage, never has any accidents, she was just too distracted and in too much of a rush so didn’t bother sitting down properly). As I gave out to her she stood up, only to spill whatever had ended up in her potty all over her ‘artwork’. That was the end of our first messy play experience. Slightly messier than anticipated. Her painting ended up straight into the bin, Mia into the shower.
Will we do it again??? Yes….but I might just make sure she doesn’t need to go to the bathroom. And maybe I should wait until the weather turns a bit warmer and we can do it outside in the garden. That said, if we’ll to wait for some nice summer weather we could be waiting a long time.
Texted my mum after. She must have laughed and texted…”They’ll be off to college before you know it…might as well enjoy them”. And that’s exactly what I try to do…they grow up way too fast, I’ll be holding on to them as long as I can!