I will freely admit that I prefer to leave the messy play to playschool. I generally find it a hassle to set up and clean up, and Lucas doesn’t engage with the activity for long enough to make it worth it. So it was reluctantly that I decided to crack out the paints one rainy morning to avoid another marathon trucks-and-diggers YouTube session.
We had not had a very good morning so far. I had snapped over a teeth-cleaning incident and was feeling quite wound up and cross. I felt guilty for shouting at Lucas and being rough with him and I didn’t feel like doing anything nice with him. However, I actually found it really therapeutic to play together and give him as much attention as I could with the twins around. I gradually calmed down, and as we had fun together I felt like we reconnected.
I tried to make the setup minimal so Lucas didn’t get tired of the activity before we’d started, as often happens! I popped some sheets of newspaper on the table, grabbed his paints and brushes, and got him into his painting apron.
We started off painting a monkey mask from a kit Lucas got for Christmas, and we talked about mixing all the colours together. He declared that whichever colours are mixed, they make brown! We explored this theory a bit and found the hypothesis to be incorrect, as we managed to make green and orange.
Lucas chose some stamps to play with and initially plodged one into the paint and put it on the mask. He realised that by doing this, he got too much paint on the mask, so we talked about how he could put the paint onto the stamp with the brushes, then put it onto the paper to make a pattern. He enjoyed ‘washing’ the brushes and stamps in water and drying them off, and he kept asking why we needed to do that before putting the brush in different colours.
As usual, he wanted to incorporate his vehicles into the activity. He suggested painting his dump truck, and I said no, thinking this would be too messy. He was quite disappointed, but I had a moment of inspiration and suggested that we could ‘drive’ the vehicles through the paint and make tracks on the paper. He really liked this idea and got out more and more cars, trucks, and diggers to look at the different tracks. I was impressed when he told me, “Mummy, the truck has made a pattern of tracks!” so we chatted about printing and patterns.
I think I have got over my fear of messy play, as I actually enjoyed this activity. I’m glad, because it opens the door for lots of Pinterest-inspired messy play sessions! I think we might try putting vehicles in shaving foam and paint next! Lucas also liked the idea of a ‘car wash’, so I can include him in the cleanup as well next time 😉