Good clean fun: get arty with the kids – but without the mess

Is your tot a budding Picasso? We’ve got three arty activities where they can have lots of colourful fun – but you can avoid a big clean-up

Kids love to get creative with paints, crayons and whatever else they can get their little hands on – and that’s great! It’s just that, unfortunately, they have a tendency to make a big mess in the process...

But there are ways you can let your child’s creative juices flow freely without you having to make a mad dash when they’re about to splodge their bright blue hands over your magnolia walls.

So try these three arty activities for colourful creativity without the big clean-up.

Fun with foam

In the bathroom or kitchen, fill the sink or a washing up bowl with a layer of white shaving foam so you can no longer see the bottom.

Dot the foam with some food colouring or acrylic paint in one or more colours. Let your tot swirl the colours around in the foam with a skewer or the handle of a thin paintbrush, creating whatever patterns they want.

When they’re happy with their swirls, lay a sheet of blank card (that’s small enough to fit in the sink or bowl) over the foam and gently press it. Lift it out and lay it out on a sheet of waxed paper.

Let it sit for three minutes, then, holding the paper down at one end, help them use a squeegee to remove the shaving cream in one wipe. Dry their creation with a hairdryer or out in the sunlight.

The swirly pattern it creates is so lovely, they could even fold the paper in half and make it into a handmade card for a friend or relative. (Tip: If the paper warps, layer it between blank sheets of paper and flatten it with heavy books for a few minutes.)

Even better you can do it all over again with the leftover foam. For a different look, simply smooth the foam out with a piece of scrap card and add a new colour.

Repeat the process and you’ll have another work of art, but with a smoother texture and sharper colour, so you can have fun pointing out the differences between the two pieces, or making another card.


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Think inside the box

Find an empty cardboard box that’s big enough for them to climb into. Sit it down so the opening is on the side. If it’s a dry day it’s best to put it out in the garden, but if it’s raining, laying some sheets of old newspaper down on a tiled floor will do the trick.

Give your child crayons, felt tips and, if you’re feeling brave, paints and let them go wild on the surfaces inside the box.

This should mean any drips or rogue scribbles will stay inside the box. If anything does get onto your tiles, simply give it a wipe with a squirt of Flash Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner and you’re sorted.

Handy hand printing

Kids love dipping their hands in paint, but parents hate the mess. Here's a great way to minimise the clean-up.

Remove any of their clothing that you don’t want covered in paint and stand them in the bath. Make sure that the bottom of the bath is completely dry so that there won't be any danger of them slipping – don’t leave young children unsupervised.

Tape large pieces of paper to the tiles above the bath and then squirt some poster paints into a large plastic dish. Your kids can dip their hands in the paint and make handprint paintings on the sheets of paper.

Then, when they’re finished, you can hose them down with the shower!

If any paint does find its way onto your walls or tiles, simply wipe with a Flash Magic Eraser to make it disappear.

Do you have any creative ways of containing the mess when your kids do arty activities? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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