Anyone who knows me, and especially my husband knows that we aren’t exactly fans of mess. So one of the challenges we have faced is knowing how to relax when it comes to Lily getting a creative, and partaking in messy play. This was also the case when we were weaning Lily. We needed to accept that sometimes there would be some carrot on our cream carpet. But most recently it has been embracing all things arty- painting, colouring, crafting, even playdoh. As a very unartistic person I have neglected doing much messy play with Lily. Instead opting for building blocks, reading, and classes such as dancing and singing. However recently we have been trying to be more creative..
It started with Playdoh. We would only get one pot out at a time, there would be no mixing allowed. The slightest hint of some bright pink ground in Playdoh on the carpet, was enough to give Joe a nervous breakdown. I know, poor child..! But to really enjoy the Playdoh you have to mix it a bit. To get creative with different shapes making animals and all sorts. So I allowed Lily to mix the colours, and actually that’s when the real enjoyment of it began. We made ducks and cats and pigs.. Lily loved it. It occasionally turns an ugly grey colour, but then you bite the bullet, get some new pots and start again.
The Art House
Once we got the hang of Playdoh that was pretty much all we did in terms of creative play with Lily for quite a while. Then a few weeks ago I saw a friends’ post about a place called The Art House, a little cafe in Eastbourne, East Sussex. As well as serving delicious food and drinks, it has a downstairs area where they hold art classes for children. I suggested it to a friend and we took the kids along one morning. We ordered our drinks and sat sipping them whilst the they listened to a story and then painted and decorated some cardboard sandals. Lily didn’t stop smiling and she especially loved the bling, covering it in sparkly bits! It was lovely to see her face light up and it made me realise I should do more of that kind of thing at home with her.
A few days later inspired by the lesson I got the paints out that had been hiding gathering dust in Lily’s wardrobe. I lay down a mat in the kitchen, and we got painting. It wasn’t completely mess free, we both got some on our clothes, but it didn’t really matter. We had loads of fun and I felt like it was good quality time together.
Since then we have continued going to The Art House and I have continued to do more messy play at home with Lily. Today for example we took two pine cones Lily brought home from a walk with her Grandad, and we painted them, calling them hedgehogs. I’ve started to get the hang of how to keep clothes and surroundings clean now anyway when doing messy play. But more importantly I have loosened up about there being a little bit of mess, and if all else fails we have some 1001 spray in the cupboard!