One of the common myths about play is that creative play is messy. Not all arts and crafts and creative play has to be messy. Although messy play has many sensory benefits, mess free play can be equally as beneficial. Harumika is a mess free activity that allows children to be creative in their choice of material and designing of the models and rooms. Although aimed at girls, interestingly in our testing venue, boys were fully absorbed in this mess free activity, with one stating “I know I shouldn’t play with this because I’m a boy, but it’s actually really fun and there are boy fashion designers” Boy aged 10. Both boys and girls found materials that they could dress the models in, then sketched designs and dressed themselves up and this resulted in the whole testing venue being creative and having a recyclable fashion show of both the dolls and of themselves.
[quoteblock text= ‘Can we look in magazines for ideas? Girl aged 9. ‘]
It is important that children understand that they have to set up and clear up after themselves.
Explain to children why we wear aprons and why we put a tablecloth on the table and then they will begin to understand the importance of thinking ahead, this process does not have to be boring, why not turn it into a game? Have a race, whoever puts the pens away first wins.
The Aquadoodle Rainbow mat is a reusable mat with water-filled pens that allows children to draw and develop artistic skills in a mess free way.
Chalking outside, children can hose the colours and pictures that they draw. This often develops into games like hopscotch, jumping to different lines. Part of the tidying up process could be washing away the chalk drawings to encourage children to be responsible to pack away an activity.