Note: This post is sponsored by Crayola. Thank you for supporting the brands I love!
Today we are diving into the #1 reason most parents don’t craft more with their toddlers: the mess!
Research shows that creativity fuels the ability to problem-solve and encourages the exploration of unfamiliar ideas. Creativity is a muscle that needs to be strengthened in our kids!
Dr. Mark Runco, Professor of Creativity Studies at the University of Georgia, says it best: “We all have creative potential. Our job as parents and teachers is to help kids fulfill it.”
But, as a parent of two toddlers, I 100% understand your predicament. Who wants to clean more? Not me! With a little preparation, organization, and an art routine, I promise we can get the chaos under control and creativity brewing! I love that Crayola designed specific creative tools to make creating with little’s easier! It’s important to match your little artist with the right tool at the right stage. Click here to explore all of the tools and activities.
5 Tips for Cleaner Crafting
1. Make art outside
Whenever possible, make art outside! Nature and art are two of my favorite things. Not only is nature the ultimate inspiration, but it takes the mess out of your house. Paint in your grass is so much better than paint on your rug.
An added bonus is that likely your kiddos already love being outside, so encouraging them to do art outdoors will be easy peasy.
2. Try this amazing no-mess painting technique
Crayola makes this super fun product called Mess Free Touch Lights. It allows your little one to create anywhere! Seriously, my daughter uses it on the potty, in the car, and, of course, on the living room floor. Her little fingers can doodle on the self contained gel tablet that changes color with the push of the button. Before this magical device was invented, I had a DIY version I used with my littles that involved a zip lock bag and paint. (Check out my no mess painting crafts for toddlers!)
3. Contain messes to cookie sheets or trays
If making art outside is not an option, cookie sheets or plastic trays are perfect for art projects that require water, glitter, or paint inside. Just slide a cookie sheet under the art and let the creating commence! (These tie dye coffee filters are another awesome craft for toddlers!)
4. Give egg cartons a second life as paint palettes
I love to reuse egg cartons as paint palettes. They’re free, and the dimples are the perfect size for a painting session. When your kids are done painting, just toss the carton.
You can also use an old muffin tin. Rinse with a hose in the backyard and use it again and again. Another tool that makes painting less messy for little ones are the Crayola Paintbrush pens. It’s a specially designed paintbrush that promotes proper writing grip and because of its triangular shape, never rolls off the table!
5. Set boundaries.
Have a conversation with your kids about your art expectations. You can’t expect a toddler to know what not to paint if you have never told them.
My barely-two-year-old son loved to ride a scooter, but I was so nervous to take him on our busy neighborhood streets. Every time we went out, I insisted he look me in the eyes and listen to and repeat these three rules:
1.) Listen to Mommy.
2.) Stop at stop signs.
3.) Look for cars.
He would repeat the rules: “Mommy, stop signs, cars.” I knew he was listening, and he knew I was serious. (Video proof!)
I do the same thing with my son and daughter and art supplies. Here are my three expectations for the making art:
- Art supplies are tools to create, not weapons or toys.
- We don’t color on the walls.
- When you’re done, put your supplies back in the tin cans.
What is your favorite tip?
And remember, there are very few messes that can’t be cleaned up!