The Art of Being Messy

Childhood is not neat. It is messy. It is messy in the best possible of ways.

From exploring, playing, discovering, creating and experimenting, kids get MESSY.

I am not the parent that gets upset if my kids drag dirt into the house, get food/paint/dirt on their clothes, or have permanent black feet from running around outside in the dirt.

The messier my kid comes home, the more fun I know she had. And if she was playing and having fun, that means she was learning.

Because as we all know, play is a child’s work.

While I am all for messy fun, Pi is all about clean floors. Most weekends he walks into the kitchen where I have set up an AWESOME activity for Sweets and she is having a grand time and beaming at her Daddy, “Look what I’m doing!” and all I see is him scoping out the floor trying to determine how much of a mess he’s going to need to clean up. This past weekend he walks downstairs, takes one look and shakes his head, “that’s not even art, that is just mess making.”

Big grump. Sweets was in the midst of some awesome sensory shaving cream play. It was actually a ploy on my part to get her to practice writing her “S’s” because she has declared she is “never” going to write an “S”. But spread a little shaving cream on the table and VOILA! fun writing letters on the table.

I think Pi has her brainwashed though because as soon as I sprayed the shaving cream right on the table she looks at me and goes: “Uh-oh, Daddy is not going to like this at all!”

Granted, while it started out like this:

Contained messy activity

Contained messy activity

…it ended up like this:

Half naked shaving cream body art that resulted in getting hosed down on the patio

Half naked shaving cream body art that resulted in getting hosed down on the patio

I wrote in one of my first posts that glitter is the mac daddy of reasons my house will never be clean and that whomever invented it is a maniacal non-parent. But in all seriousness, glitter and other messy materials are like kid crack to young children. They can’t get enough of it. Yes, they may make an ungodly mess of your house, but it keeps them busy!!! And happy!  I am all for that. I will continue to experiment with fun, messy ways I can entertain my kids and let you all know how it works out! The above activity- just go nuts with the shaving cream, add a little food coloring and there you go! And while it might LOOK really messy, it SMELLS really clean!

What’s on the bookshelves this week:

My boss, a school principal, sent me an article on what preschoolers should be learning right now and essentially, other than making sure they are playing, you shouldn’t worry about academics (Aunt Jane are you giving a little Woot Woot! right now??).  This I knew, but a good reminder when you are thinking: Am I Doing Enough? Yes, most likely, you are doing MORE than enough.

My favorite part of the article though is that the highest indicator of student achievement and high test scores is READING TO YOUR CHILD EVERY DAY from a very young age.

There is nothing more important to me than sitting down with Sweets and reading to her. Last week I posted a few books we were reading. Well, we have a few more in rotation right now that we both love. Thanks to the book list on Mommy Shorts/ for some of our newer additions. Click on the book picture for ordering info on Barnes and Noble.

1. The Gruffalo, By Juli Donaldson

On his walk through the woods, mouse tells different animals planning on eating him for snack that he’s on his way to meet the ferocious Gruffalo, who of course doesn’t exist. OR DOES HE?

The Gruffalo

2. Foxy and Egg by Alex T. Smith

Foxy invites Egg over for dinner with devious plans for what is on the menu for breakfast. But things aren’t as they seem with Egg….

Foxy and Egg: Starring Vivien Vixen As Foxy Dubois - Introducing Edward l'Ouef As Egg

3. The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

All of a sudden branches on trees where woodland creatures live are disappearing! After blame is tossed around, they put their detective skills to work and let the justice system do its job.

The Great Paper Caper

4. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

These crayons have had it! They want a change of scenery!

The Day the Crayons Quit

5. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, by Mo Willems (oh, my FAV-O-RITE! kids author!)

Because anything about naked is funny.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

6. Monsters Eat Whiny Children, by Bruce Eric Kaplan

Sweets: “Mommy, why haven’t monsters come to eat me when I have been whiny?”

Me: “You never know, they could be on their way.”

Scary? No…the monsters are too busy arguing about a good whiny child recipe!

Monsters Eat Whiny Children


2 thoughts on “The Art of Being Messy

  1. Oh, so true Christie! I still send my kids book lists(and they are all in their 50’s)! If you send me your e-mail address to, I will send you the latest list of Fall/ Winter books some not even yet published. You can order them through your library consortium and as soon as they are published you can pick them up.

  2. Reblogged this on My Special Kind of Crazy and commented:

    I was talking to Pi about making the backyard more “kid play friendly” so they’ll want to spend time back there. Currently they like to play in the front yard. There is not fence in the front yard and Sarah likes to, shall we say, meander around the cul de sac unencumbered (a rephrasing of “she runs off when we’re not looking” so that CPS is not tipped off). So I was talking about making an outdoor chalkboard and creating a “mud pit” for making mud pies.
    What was Pi’s response?
    “Let’s make sure we don’t make it so things don’t get too messy.”
    I am not sure anyone has told him yet that we have kids.
    This post may remind him.
    Oh, and the books recommended here I still read- pay special attention to “Monsters Eat Whiny Children”. I use it as a cautionary tale.
    Have a great crazy day!

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