A Joyful Mess

Adult Perceptions

Kids come without our restrained adult perceptions. They still appreciate the feel of having their arms in up-to-the-elbow mud, or wiggling their toes in dense wet sand. Children can learn a great deal from making mud pies or from finger painting. They learn about textures and how water interacts with the elements, for instance.

Don't be afraid to provide them with messy activities in your home. If you line your table with newspaper and your kid with daddy's old button down shirt, buttons in the back instead of the front, you're good to go. At the end of playtime, your child will enjoy splashing in the tub to get clean.

Puffy Microwave Paint

This paint puffs up when the painting is nuked for a short time in the microwave.

*1 Tablespoon self-rising flour

*1 Tablespoon salt

*3 drops food coloring

Mix all ingredients with just enough water to obtain a smooth paste. Provide your child with at least 3 or 4 different colors. Using Popsicle sticks or paint brushes have your child paint on cardboard or heavy paper. Microwave his creation on high for 10 seconds or until paint is dry.

Goopy Fun

Cornstarch Goop

*2 cups cornstarch

*1 cup cold water

*Green food coloring

Place cornstarch in a bowl. Gradually add water then stir until water is absorbed. Add food coloring. Provide spoons, cups, sticks, and containers and let your child at the goop.

Tip: Removing goop from carpets is easy. Simply let dry, then brush or vacuum. Goop can be reconstituted if it dries out, by adding water, a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is restored.

Frothy Slime


*1 cup soap flakes

*2 quarts warm water

*Food coloring (optional)

Dissolve the soap flakes in the warm water and let stand until thick. Beat the slime with an eggbeater or with a fork until it becomes frothy. Place the slime into a dish pan or other open container and give your kids cups, spoons, funnels, and other safe kitchen implements with which they can experiment.

Finger Paint

*2 cups cornstarch

*5 cups cold water

*Food coloring

Place the cornstarch in a large pot and add a small amount of cold water to make a smooth paste. Add the 5 cups of cold water and stir over low heat for about ten minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough for finger painting. Add food coloring as desired.