Messy play date

Being a stay-at-home mum is awesome but sometimes it can leave me feeling a little bit, well…bored. I’m sure I’m not alone in this?

Don’t get me wrong, me and the boys keep very busy. We have a few classes and play groups that we go to, we have a day that we generally keep free for running errands, doing shopping that kind of thing and more recently, I’ve been trying to keep a day free for staying at home.

Max naps well at home, but not so much when we are out and about and I feel like it’s sometimes unfair on him to keep expecting him to cut his sleep short just because Seth has a class to go to, or we are going round Tesco’s. He doesn’t seem to mind, Max takes most things in his stride but I think Seth benefits from a day at home every so often as well. The problem is, I sometimes struggle to fill this day at home with activities that are stimulating enough to capture a two year old’s interest and stop me from going a tiny bit crazy.

Seth is at an age now where he enjoys more structured activities, like baking and crafting. Neither he nor I are ready for him to go to nursery yet so I find myself trawling through Pinterest, keeping an eye out for things that we can do together whilst littlest sleeps. More recently, we started attending an Art Explorers class on a Monday where the leader, Becky, sets up age-appropriate ‘messy play’ activities that usually involve painting, play dough, glitter, gluing and other things that are a pain to clear up at home 😉

Inspired by one of her recent Tuff-tub creations, I decided to host a messy play session of our own for Seth and a couple of his buddies from our antenatal class days.

This involved cooked spaghetti that had been dyed different colours and similarly dyed jelly all thrown together in a paddling pool that we brought indoors. The spaghetti was just supermarket basic stuff cooked according to the pack’s instructions, which I split in to three batches. Each batch went in to a bowl and I added a squirt of food colouring.

The jelly was a sachet of gelatine, made according to the pack’s instructions which had a couple of drops of food colouring added before I poured in to silicone muffin cases and refrigerated overnight.

I was interested to see how Seth approached this as he’s actually not a lover of getting too messy and often cries out for his hands to be wiped on a regular basis!

That was not the case here at all. He immediately leapt straight in to the tub and got stuck in burying his legs and saying “where’s Seth’s toes gone?!”

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The other boys had a great time too. There was much “oooh wriggly worms” and “jelly on a plate”. Spaghetti was thrown, plastic animals were buried, cars were washed and jelly was squished. It was a sensory triumph.

I’d reserved some materials for doing painting with in case they all hated the spaghetti or got bored of it quickly but it wasn’t necessary. They all played together for a good two hours before the other boys needed to go home and Seth and Max needed lunch.

One of my friends remarked how nice it was to see them all playing so nicely together, completely independently, without the need for any toys.

As you would expect, there was plenty of cleaning up to do but we have laminate flooring and the furniture was all covered thanks to some washable, flannel-backed table cloths that I’d picked up in The Range for £2.49 the day before 🙂

Seth helped me wash the plastic animal up. He loves water play and I am keen to ensure that he understands that things need to be cleaned if they get mucky. I believe it helps them to build a sense of respect for their possessions and surroundings.

All in all, I was really pleased with how it went and Seth was keen to tell Daddy all about it when he got home so it must have been memorable for him.

I do think that we will do it again but probably outside next time!

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About Kelly

Gently stay-at-home mum of two boys.
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