Messy house? Messy activities? Don’t be afraid of the mess! When I say messy house, I don’t mean a dirty or filthy house. Don’t take my words the wrong way. My house is always clean. Dishes are usually always caught up for the most part. However, I could make some improvements on staying caught up on the laundry. My floors are swept and mopped fairly regularly. All that being said, my house is definitely not immaculate and quite frankly, I don’t see that happening until my kids are all grown and moved out.
My house is clean but it’s messy. And you know what? I don’t care. It used to bother me. A lot. Eventually after having our first kiddo, I got over it. After I went through my supermom stage which was nothing but stressful. We used to have tons of toys in the living room. We went through this with all three of our kids until they were old enough to learn how to go up and down the stairs safely. And we felt comfortable enough for them to be upstairs in their bedrooms without constant supervision. So we always had toys everywhere. Most of the time they were picked up at the end of the day but if someone were to stop by, they would probably be stepping over toys all over the living room.
There used to be a time when we had boxes everywhere. Why? Because our youngest loved boxes. Especially ones he could fit in. My husband used to bring some home from work for him all the time. I would give him a box of crayons and he would be inside the box drawing and coloring all over it for an hour or two at a time. I didn’t really care if someone stopped by and saw these boxes sitting around. They were his. I mean, look how happy he looked. About a box. It allowed him to show his creativity and he had fun with them. So the boxes stayed in my clean but messy house.
My kids are older now and even though we don’t have toys in our living room anymore, there are still messes everywhere. There may be a pair of socks over there. Or over there. And maybe over there too. They may have a few of their things sitting around in the living room. But they will pick their stuff up. Even if they need reminded. There may even be pillows all over the floor because for some reason our dog doesn’t like to leave the pillows on the couch.
Oh I am sure you know what I am talking about. Maybe you don’t have a chair and have a table instead. But you know that chair or table that may be out of the way for the most part that you constantly throw things on and think “I’ll find a place for that later”. No? Well, I have one. Eventually we all go through it and clear it out just to start over. Don’t get me wrong, we all have chores. Our kids have chores, I clean, my husband usually cooks and fixes things he probably has no business trying to fix but messes happen. Our house looks and feels like it’s lived in. It feels like home.
We also have an extra table in our dining room. That’s where our kids play with certain messy things. Or color, draw, or do some sort of project. That table isn’t always cleared either. I don’t mind it because that usually means that they have been working on something that they aren’t finished with. It actually makes me smile when I see that messy table when we sit down at the dining room table to eat dinner.
There used to be a time I hated things like Play-Doh, clay and other things like it. And that is actually pretty unfortunate I ever felt that way. I’m glad I changed my mind on that. We had a pretty big play mat that was great for things like that. We would put the play mat down on the kitchen floor and that’s where they would play with it. If anything got on the floor it was a lot easier to clean up. Hey, I may have gotten over some of these messy substances but I am not completely crazy. I don’t want the stuff mashed into my carpet.
They have a lot of fun messy stuff to play with. They have Floof, various slimes and putties, and they also have some Sands Alive. Even I enjoy playing with all that stuff! The reason it was unfortunate of me to despise these kinds of things to play with is because they are great for sensory and creative play. Messy play (including messy activities) promotes coordination, fine motor skills and sensory stimulation. Non structured play encourages creativity and learning. And it’s just downright fun.
When my kids were younger, they loved finger painting. Or any kind of painting. We even did some pudding painting a couple times which turned out to be pretty fun. Last summer we filled water balloons with food coloring and water. Threw on some old clothes and painted each other by throwing water balloons. We have also done shaving cream art which was also pretty fun.
Minimize the mess
Messy play can be cringe worthy. I get it. Even though I have grown to really love messy play and I learned how to be a bit more laid back when it comes to the mess, I still try to minimize getting the mess everywhere. Like I stated before, I am not completely crazy. I kept old plastic table cloths from past birthday parties they have had. I still have some from like 10 years ago if you can believe that. They are kept in a “art table cloth box” that my youngest calls it. I use them to cover the extra table in the dining room. If they are using paint, I wipe it down after they are done so it can be re-used once again. So they have their own creative work space that can be covered as well.
Another thing we use a lot are shallow plastic bins. I bought a few of these so that way if they are doing some sort of messy activity, most of the mess can be contained in the bin. If it’s nice outside, it makes messy play that much more easy because they are more than happy to be outside.
So don’t stress about the house mess. And don’t be afraid of messy activities. Life can be messy so just enjoy it and have fun!