The many faces of kids’ crafts

Messy play activities

Like most families, our children are very different. My son is five and doesn’t like mess, give him a nice clean colouring book and pens and he’ll be happy for hours. Whereas my daughter will actively seek out the only muddy puddle for miles around, and jump in it. So trying to find craft activities which they will both enjoy is a challenge, especially as I’m not the most creative of mums.

Recently though, I have found good options for them both to enjoy separately (coinciding with half term when my daughter was at nursery).

Cutting and sticking

My son and I tried out a free trial session of the PaperKites Kids art workshops, which was held at a local venue. We didn’t really know what to expect as it was a new class, so didn’t have anything to go on. It was the day before Valentine’s Day so there were themed activities:

– creating ‘love bugs’ from dough and leaves

– cutting out and layering cardboard hearts

– decorating cardboard kites (to fit in with the name of the company)

By far everyone’s favourite activity was the paint spinners though (such an ingenious idea) – paper hearts that the children drizzled with paint and then spun around in a salad spinner. The effect was great, especially as none two hearts turned out the same.

My son really loved this class, it was calm, not too loud and he could sit and concentrate on what he was doing. My daughter would be slightly too young (and restless) I think, I can imagine her painting her hands and trying to eat the dough!

With my daughter, we went for full on plastic sheets on the floor, bring your own towel messy play! We went to Wot A Mess, which holds weekly one hour sessions in a local scout hall, each week with a different theme. This week it was Peppa Pig, so there were plenty of figurines to play with and themed painting and sticking activities. Plus lots of ‘stations’ with foam, sand, beans, rice, dough, dinosaurs and shredded paper to get stuck into. It made me smile to see a tray of water with pairs of wellies, for ‘jumping in muddy puddles’!

My daughter absolutely loves it, the fact that there are lots of different things means she can choose what she wants to do. What’s great as a parent is that you don’t have to worry about clearing up! It really helps me to relax and enjoy the session with my daughter, as I’m not worrying about the mess. We now have designated messy play clothes and an old pair of my son’s shoes.



So, what’s next for our craft adventures? We’re trying out the Easter Charlie and the Chocolate Factory special at Wot A Mess, combining messy play with more craft activities for the older ones. Let’s see who enjoys it more……

PaperKites Kids and Wot a Mess have not provided any payment for this review (we just love them!)

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