If there are two words that usually go hand in hand, its “toddler” and “mess.” Working from home, I’m quite used to the constant toys and books littering the floor. It’s not until my daughter has gone to bed that I even attempt to clean up because anything earlier would just mean extra work. Then there’s the countless hours I spend stain treating clothes and vacuuming crumbs. Let’s just say kids are messy!
That being said, I’m always a fan for activities that are virtually mess free, saving me precious cleaning time but also entertaining my toddler. If this sounds like you, then check out this list of no-mess activities that are perfect for your normally messy toddler! None of these no-mess activities will involve any paint on fingers, markers on your carpet or play dough stuck to your feet!
1. No-Mess Painting In A Bag
Painting is often a favorite for a toddler, but a messy and nerve-wracking activity for a parent trying to keep their furniture clean. Well, fear no more because painting in a bag is here to save the day. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Insert some paper or yardstick into a large ziplock bag, squirt in some paint and then tightly seal. You can tape it down to the table, high chair try or even floor, and let your toddler paint away! When they’re done, carefully remove the paper and let dry. You have a beautiful and mess-free piece of art!
Be sure to visit Craftulate.com for more tips on mess-free painting, as well as other great ideas for clean activities.
2. Button Sorting
The best activities not only keep your toddler entertained, but are also educational. These homemade button sorting cups are just the ticket to keep both you and toddler happy. Simply cut holes in colorful tupperware-style containers and find coordinating buttons. Teach your child how to match their colors and drop the buttons in the appropriate containers. The bowls will also serve as storage for your activity!
Check out AboutFamilyCrafts.com for some more details on making this simple activity, along with other great ideas to keep your kids entertained.
3. Bath Tub Ball Pool
This is every kids delight, especially since so many fast food restaurants don’t have ball pits anymore (stupid germs!). You can purchase 100 balls pretty inexpensively on Amazon, and you have the makings for a great activity that your toddler will love and expend a lot of energy on. Dump your balls in the bathtub, along with a few other toys, and you’ve got a great and contained activity!
Head over to TheTrainDriversWife.com for this activity, along with tons more on sensory play for young children.
4. No-Mess Sticky Table Garden
If you want to get your kids creative juices flowing, but don’t want to deal with a huge mess then a sticky table is for you. You will be using contact paper, with the sticky side up to create a canvas that will have no choice but to adhere all your art mediums. You can use cupcake liners, craft sticks, pom poms and more! Heck, you can even just let your kids stick their hands to the paper over and over again.
Check out LearnWithPlayAtHome.com for this activity and additional ideas on fun and educational play with your kids at home.
5. Crazy Straw Fun
You only need 2 supplies for this no-mess activity: crazy straws and felt! Just cut your felt into circles, making a small slit large enough so it can be thread on to the straw. Then show the kiddos how to add the circles to the straw for a great fine motor activity. This would also be excellent to throw in your purse and use for waits in the doctors office or a restaurant!
Visit PowerfulMothering.com for this activity, along with other amazing tips on parenting, printables and kids activities.
6. Pipe Cleaner or Yarn Tracing
This activity couldn’t get any easier to prepare. Grab some pipe cleaners and either create some scenes or download free ones right here at SugarAunts.com, and show your child how to “trace” the shape using their pipe cleaner (or yarn). They will improve their dexterity, concentration and fine motor skills, all great results of this super easy activity.
SugarAunts.com has even more wonderful activities that are perfect “aunts, parents, and therapists!”
7. No-Mess Felt Flowers
Remember when we were kids and they had the felt storyboards in Sunday school? Ahh, the good old days. Well, you can still enjoy the magic of felt with your toddler, even if you aren’t super crafty! The great thing about felt is that is’s cheap and sticks easily to itself. For this activity, all you need is a variety of colors and a pair of scissors. You can create a flower template or just freehand, and cut out various shapes of flowers in different sizes. Then give them all to your toddler and get them to work!
LivingLifeAndLearning.com has more steps on this activity, and other awesome printable and activities waiting for you!
8. Paint With Water
Nothing is more opposite of painting with paint then painting with water! No paint all over and no clean up! You can purchase inexpensive water pens that are reusable, as well as paint with water books that will even further contain the mess. If you have an artist, this is great activity to keep on hand!
Check out CuttingTinyBites.com for more kids activities, food and preschool tips!
9. Shape Threading
Activities that require a lot of concentration are great for toddlers for many reasons, but one of which is that it keeps them sitting still for more than 5 seconds! You can create your own threading shapes using cardboard or foam sheets, which are usually $1 for an 11×17 size. Make holes using a hole puncher, and either make your own strings using yard or shoelaces (you can also buy colored laces at any craft stores for under $5 for a pack) for threading. Show your toddler how to thread and sit back while they get to work.
Check out Teach-Me-Mommy.com for even more mess-free toddler activities!