Tag Archives: messy fun

Colorful Shaving Cream Fun!

I’m very sorry for my long absence! 

Five year-old Alex had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy last week and the recovery has been really hard on him.  We’ve also been out of town to celebrate my birthday and to meet with doctors at the Mayo for my husband to get a long-overdue new hip.  Also, a friend (and magical mama to six kids) died suddenly (click here if you would like to help the family), and I just didn’t feel up to writing for a long time.

But times like these mean we need more magic for our kids (and us), so I’m back on my feet to do my best.

This morning, I got out the shaving cream and food coloring for Alex to have a bit of messy fun. 

I sprayed his name in shaving cream and then had him smooth it out, then dropped about 3 drops of each color (red, blue, green, red) on various parts. 

He used his finger to swirl the colors, then used chopsticks and spoons, making colorful mountains and experimenting with lots of color mixing.

It was a huge hit!  His brother joined in the fun for a while too, and then helped clean it all up. 

I hear it’s good for wood tables, too.  I have no proof, but our 50 year-old wood table can pretty much handle anything at this point.  🙂

This craft works marvelously well in the bath, too, of course!

Hug your kiddos, count your blessings, and make the most of every second that you get with these amazing little people (and the amazing big ones, too).



Filed under crafts

I’m So Glad I Hadn’t Cleaned the Bathroom…

It’s spring, and that means one thing is guaranteed at my house.

Muddy children.

Luckily, they clean up pretty easy.  And so do bathrooms.  🙂

Want to have some fun with the mud with your kiddos?  Here’s 10 ways to play with it…

  1. Make mud pies.
  2. Paint with it on the driveway or sidewalk.
  3. Squish your toes in it.
  4. Make seed bombs.
  5. Make mud sculptures, marbles, etc. and let them dry in the sun.
  6. Make mud art.
  7. Drive toy trucks and cars through it.
  8. Write in it with sticks or your fingers.
  9. Jump in it.  Watch out!
  10. Totally make a mess in it.  Yes, grown ups too.  🙂

Oh and clean up?  That’s what sprinklers and water balloons are for!

Happy Friday!


Filed under happy stuff

Colored Salt Paintings!

Here’s a simple, fun and nearly free craft that’s really fun for kiddos of all ages.

Colored Salt Paintings!

You need:

  • Sturdy cardboard (cut up cereal boxes and cardboard boxes are ideal)
  • Salt
  • Small bowls
  • Food coloring
  • Glue
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pen or pencil (optional)
  • Small spoons or scoops (baby spoons or souvenir spoons work well)


  1. In the small bowls, pour several spoonfuls of salt and add a few drops of food coloring to each.  Stir well and add more to get desired color.  We used paste food coloring, which is very intense and requires very little.  If your salt ends up too wet from the coloring, you can microwave it very briefly or put it in a hot oven for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, give the kids each a piece of cardboard (blank side up, or vice versa if they want to do the art over a pattern) and ask them to draw a simple design on it.  It should be big, without tiny areas.  Flowers, fish, designs and patterns work well.  Little ones can skip this step.
  3. Have the kids paint sections of their designs with the glue, and then scoop the colored salt onto the sections.  They can then pour the extra salt back into the bowl.
  4. They can then paint the next section with glue and sprinkle a new color, repeating until the picture is finished.
  5. Allow to dry.

Our kids all loved doing these, from 3 year-old Alex to 12 year-old Victoria.

Be sure to take pictures, as they can be a bit delicate!  🙂

Happy Saturday!


Filed under crafts

Driveway Graffiti

I love this idea from No Time for Flashcards!  Brilliant!  We’ve mixed up sidewalk paint before and it hasn’t been the biggest hit with any of us, but using balls with it?  I love the sounds of it!

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Filed under activities, crafts, neat stuff elsewhere

Why I Love Teacher Tom

I’ve been following Teacher Tom’s blog for a little while now.  Teacher Tom is a preschool teacher who gives me all sorts of wonderful ideas, especially for making outside spaces child-friendly.  He also just has a wonderful love of children that I enjoy reading.

But today’s post on his blog perfectly sums up why I adore him.

He was inspired by these blocks (so am I!) and decided to try to make some with his students.

Now anybody who’s been around the internet block a time or two knows that when most folks are inspired by projects for children online, they try to recreate them to absolute perfection, and then document the steps in 25 photoshopped, frame-worthy pictures.  The final result usually belongs in a high end Etsy shop or an art gallery.

It also tends to look like it requires so much trouble, so much artistic skill, so many expensive supplies and so much time that I just forget about it and get out the playdough.

This is how Teacher Tom recreated the project with his kids.

And more.  Glorious messes galore.

And the final bit, that made me smile like mad?  Just as I was thinking “I wonder what special paint he used and if he’s coating it with varnish,” he mentioned it was plain old tempera paint… and it rained that night and it probably all washed off so “I guess we’ll just have to do it again.”

And you know what, I’ve done THAT craft!  The kids do love it.  We did it on big rocks and cement border stones, but they had a blast (me too, actually!).  And it did wash off, and we did do it again.

I have scrap wood in the back yard and I have lots of tempera paint.  I know some kiddos who would love to make that pile into some fabulous, tacky, gloppy, beautiful, colorful, perfect blocks.

Thank you, Teacher Tom, for crafting for the kids.


Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

Yarn Eggs!

Here’s a craft we first tried when my girls were tiny and I plan to try again this week.  These fun eggs make wonderful springtime decorations.

Grown-up help is required and they are a little more work than they might appear and can be more than a bit messy. They’re great fun though!

You’ll need:

  • balloons
  • different colors of yarn or embroidery floss
  • glue
  • large paintbrush

1. Blow up the balloon and tie a length of yarn to the top to hang it while you work on it.

2. Mix the glue with some water to make a thinner glue. Use the paintbrush to cover the whole balloon with glue.

3. Wrap the yarn around the balloon, either by winding it around in closely spaced rows from top to bottom or by doing random loops over and over it.

4. Paint some more glue on top of the yarn and then wrap another length of yarn around again. Repeat until the balloon is mostly covered with thread. (Ours were loosely covered and very delicate when finished. You might want to cover yours more.) Be sure there aren’t big gaps anywhere (especially at the top or bottom).

5. Hang the balloon to dry overnight. When dry, pop the balloon and gently pull it out. It’ll probably slowly deflate and the kids can have fun peeling it off the inside of the yarn egg.

6. Either hang the finished eggs from the ceiling or use as a table decoration or put in a giant bowl. These are really colorful and fun when they’re finished.

*** Note: You can also use liquid starch instead of glue.

*** Alternate directions:
Dip the yarn in watery glue and then wrap.
Use plain string (lots) and then paint and sprinkle with glitter when dry.

Happy Thursday!

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Squirt Painting!

Here’s a fun craft using stuff you probably already have in your cupboards.

You need:

~ flour
~ water
~ food coloring
~ 2 or more squirt bottles such as bottles from syrup, glue, ketchup or mustard
~ paper
~ bowl and spoon
~ disposable cardboard box (optional)

1.  Mix some flour with enough water to make a thick paint-like consistency.  Mix in a few drops of food coloring and pour it into a squirt bottle.  Repeat for as many colors as you’d like.  We do three.

2.  Place a piece of paper at the bottom of your cardboard box.  The box will keep the mess contained.  If you like, you can cut off the flaps or cut down the size to make it work best.  Or you can skip this step and do the craft outside or over a safe surface.  Remember that food coloring can stain, so if this is a problem you may want to tint the flour/water with washable paint instead.

3.  Now let your kiddos drizzle, draw and squirt to their heart’s content!

We consider this kind of art “camera art”– meaning it is too messy to keep forever so we take a picture of each creation and drop the finished creations right into a bag to dispose of. We save out one or two of the best to display all day, though.


Another option that’s great for little ones is to do the craft in a baking dish and squirt right into the dish.  Kids can draw with their fingers in the goop and then you can rinse in the sink and start again.

This can even be done straight onto driveways or patios. Toddlers will enjoy it with just flour and water in a single bottle. Best of all, it’s so cheap and easy they can do it again and again.

Note: Squirt paint won’t be tasty but it is non-toxic (unless you mix in paint).  For babes who eat a lot of their art supplies, you can also make it with baby cereal or pureed fruits or veggies and water.  Sneaky, huh?  😉




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Sheet Painting!

Here’s what we did around here yesterday.

Here’s what Jack’s legs looked like by the end!

That’s okay!  Children are not dry clean only.  They wash easily!  🙂

It was bittersweet to remember this kid….

Being this kid!

This seems like so many lifetimes ago!

Have you done sheet painting lately?  It’s so easy but here’s some ideas on what we use.



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