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“I’m bored.” Come on, it’s almost summer… you know you’re going to hear it at least once or twice or a million times. That’s why now is a great time to start arming yourself with ideas to keep the kids busy this summer! One of my favorite ways to keep kids active, busy, and having SO much fun they forget to be bored is through some good old fashioned messy play! That’s why this backyard splatter painting is tons of fun to create– and it’s super easy, too.
When I was a little girl, I had the coolest mom ever. I mean, I still do, but as a child, my mom made all the kids wish she was their mom for sure. At one point in my childhood, my bedroom was due to be painted… and my mom actually said “Hey, let’s get water guns. And let’s fill them with paint… and let’s squirt that paint ALL over the walls.” And we did, and my room was the coolest room on the planet. I mean, how many moms are going to say “Hey! Let’s paint a room with water guns!”? Not many. But what’s even cooler is, when my brother was growing up… she did it again! She let him paint a game room bright green with black streaks from a water gun.
It truly was a magnificent sight, and painting my room like that was something I’ll never forget. That awesome, irreplaceable memory is what cemented a love of messy play in my mind. My mom just always had this theory that kids were washable, clothes were washable, and so play, even of the messiest variety, was absolutely okay. Whether we were watering down a patch in the front yard for a mud pit I could explore and roll in, or hauling out the paint and tie dye and glue, there was always the idea that… well, it’ll wash off.
That’s part of why I was so excited to do this messy play activity with my son, and why I highly encourage you to do it with your kids, too– kids need messy play. It stimulates parts of their brain that truly need that stimulation, and this activity is so super simple that you’ll want to do it again and again!
Start by filling up your painting tools with your colors of choice. For ours, we chose water balloons (which are easily filled with soap dispensers of paint!) and medicine droppers, but you can use paintbrushes with paint flung at the canvas, sponges dipped in paint and tossed towards it, bubble wrap pressed on it, or even cooked spaghetti noodles, dipped in paint and tossed or smeared. Really, the sky is the limit here!
Next, clamp your canvas to a fence or easel using clamps from your tool box. We chose a section of fence not near the house or any trees, and just clamped it right on. These particular canvases came in a package of three, so we could make multiple paintings!
Once your canvas is attached to the fence or easel, you’re ready to create your unique splatter painting! The reason you’ll want to do this in your backyard is that truly, that balloon or paint could go anywhere– cleanup is simply easier outdoors! Let your child pick colors and get creative with which colors to layer over each other… mine stuck to some of his favorite colors, red and yellow!
You may want to encourage your child to wear eye protection, just because of the splatter nature of the craft. It truly does kind of splash wherever it pleases!
We noticed with our water balloons that the splat was taking the same trajectory or hitting around the same place on the canvas. To keep things spread out and not just concentrated in one spot, we moved back and forth towards the canvas to shift the trajectory slightly, used water balloons that were filled to varying amounts of paint, and would occasionally turn the canvas so paint would drip or hit in other places.
Shaking things up with which materials you’re using is another great way to add interest to the piece. We found that sticking to one or two materials per painting kept things looking beautiful, but still making them interesting and fun!
Once your stunning new piece of art is done, it’s time to let the splatter painting dry, and also time to wash up! Luckily, using washable paints means that kids, and clothes, are easily washed and good as new, even if your kids are pretty paint covered (and trust me, if you have multiple children, I won’t guarantee that some paint-filled water balloons won’t end up being thrown at each other… it happens).
When it does come time for cleanup, I trust all® fresh clean Essentials™ to get the job done. It’s a brand new product that offers a powerful clean, without the harshness, while still preserving the color of clothing!
Because it’s sulfate free, I feel more comfortable and confident using the product, and I love that it allows my kid to truly just be a kid, which sometimes means some really messy adventures.
Recently, my family has been working to select sulfate free options when it comes to our hair care and body products, so it was only natural that when we had the option to go sulfate free with our laundry, we would do that, too.
all® fresh clean Essentials™ has only the essential and effective ingredients for deep cleaning clothes, leaving them with a really powerful clean, without being as harsh. Follow the directions on the back of the package when using in the wash, and your clothes will be completely ready for their next messy play activity!
I also love the fact that I can buy my all® fresh clean Essentials™ on Amazon.com— I don’t even have to leave the house! As Amazon.com has added an increasingly large range of products, I’ve found that it makes sense for our busy, sometimes messy, lifestyle to pick up the essentials online– I love having my all® fresh clean Essentials™ delivered straight to my doorstep so I can get a sulfate free clean without even having to leave the house. Plus, it’s available in a Fresh scent or in Fragrance Free, so you can choose the right fit for your family.
For me, life is all about messy play when you’re a child, and having the option to truly be a kid and get a little messy, knowing the permission from my mom to do so, is largely what I credit my creative-based career to. I know I probably wouldn’t be the person I am if I didn’t have the chance to engage in that messy play as a child, which is why it is so important to me to give my son that same opportunity to explore messy play options like this splatter painting.
How do you use messy play to tackle summer boredom, and what’s your best tip for cleaning it up? Let me know in the comments below, and remember to check out the all® fresh clean Essentials™ hub for more awesome ideas and tutorials!