You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Fun is being creative AND a little messy!

Messy is good!  Most kids like activities that involve a little “mess”!

I can remember really searching at times to fill the days with activities for my kids.  I checked out books from the library and talked to other Moms to find ideas that were kid friendly and fun.  Now, there are so many ways to find activities.  The library is still a great resource, but the internet has endless ideas.  My new favorite is www.Pinterest.com

So many great ideas for so many things on this site!  I found some fun activities for your kids that are developmentally appropriate, safe and easy.  I added a few of my own too.  Let me know what you think and add any ideas that you may have tried!

Finger paint with pudding

My kids LOVED this!  Fun way to finger paint without worrying that they will eat it!  Put them in the tub and let them “paint” on the tub walls, or let them “paint” their highchair tray!  Cleans up easy and is fun!  Kids like messy play!

Finger paint with shaving cream

A little less messy is “painting” with shaving cream.  Great way to have preschoolers learn to trace letters.  Let them use their finger and copy a letter or a shape.  Fun to do in the tub too!  You can put a drop or two of water based washable  paint in the shaving cream to color it.  It should not stain a tub or your child’s skin!  I have seen postings of using food coloring in shaving cream, but I think that may stain your little one’s skin!  When I did this with my kids, the high chair tray never was cleaner!

Paint in a bag

Try putting paint in a ziplock baggie.  Close it up ( you may want to tape it shut too) and let your child move the paint around in the bag without getting any on their hands!  This works really well for the child that does not like to get his or her hands dirty!  It is also a mess free way to paint for you!

Marble paper with shaving cream

Great idea from the blog Having Fun at Home.  This sounds easy and looks like fun!  Take a look at this blog.  Lots of fun ideas!


1. Fill a 9 x13 pan with a layer of shaving cream. Squirt a few colors of liquid tempera paint on top. (washable, and water based)2. Using a knife or stick, swirl the colors around.
3. Place a piece of white cardstock on top of the shaving cream and smush it down, making sure that every piece of the cardstock is thoroughly wet.
4. Pull the cardstock off and wipe the excess shaving cream off with a paper towel. (Try to do it thoroughly with the first wipe because the more wiping you do, the more muted the marbling.)

The paint stays on the paper even though the shaving cream is wiped off.  When the paper dries, it looks really nice.  Perfect to frame with the date for a gift!

“Sand” table

Just fill a plastic tub that has a lid with rice or dried beans if you want to use it inside, or sand if it is going to be used outside.  The rice or beans makes a “cleaner” sandbox.  The kids love to fill and dump the rice or beans and can dig for surprises that you hide.  Cover it with the plastic lid and store for later!  If you want to use sand, this will also keep your sand clean and contained.

Jello Playdough

I have made this in the past.  This is a great recipe…no fears if it is eaten!  It smells good too!  This website gives all kinds of playdough recipes!  http://www.playdoughrecipe.org

  • white flour – 1 cup
  • salt – 2 tbsp
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • warm water – 1 cup
  • Jello – 1 3oz pack or you can use a sugar free Kool-aid packet


  • Add all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl
  • Mix all the ingredients together until consistent
  • Pour into a pan cook over low heat and stir continuously
  • Wait for it to thicken into a big ball and then place it on a piece of wax paper to cool
  • Kneed it for a few minutes once cooled with some flour
  • Add any food coloring or glitter to spice things up!
  • Start playing!

Sorting tray

Try getting out your muffin trays and using them as sorters.  Let your child sort colored pom poms, different types of cereal, colored pieces of felt, etc.  Sorting is a pre-reading skill.  Let your child sort the way he or she wants to…don’t force your idea of sorting.  They will eventually find their own pattern of sorting.

Paint in a shoe box

Place white paper in a shoe box.  Put a couple “globs” of water based washable paint on the paper.  Place some marbles in the box.  Let your child roll the marbles around in the box through the paint to make a picture.  No mess!

These are just a few ideas to fill your day when you are searching for activities.  Remember young children LOVE to be creative, and messy is fun!  Get a little messy, enjoy being a kid with your child!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


1 Comment


    1. How do you play with a toddler? « raisingkidswithlove

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