Is anyone else wondering how they survived these past few months in lockdown with a two year old? It has been full of ups and downs and keeping little ones engaged, interested and smiling has been a particular challenge, as we scroll endlessly through Pinterest trying to find an activity that will keep them satisfied for longer than 10 minutes (good luck!)
Speaking to a friend, we seemed to be having the same issue. How do we keep them occupied with minimal effort? Maybe that sounds like a cop out but toddlers can be relentless! She had used Mess Around and suggested I give them a try.
We were very fortunate to be gifted a Mess Box from Mess Around which arrived to ‘Ooohhhs’ and ‘Ahhhs’ from our excited toddler, who had been told there was a special treat on its way in the post.
Upon opening the box we were met with an explosion of colour with mini activity sets carefully concealed under paper that had my daughter Lily’s excitement levels off the scale. She got stuck in, pulling the labelled tubs out and immediately wanting to open it all.
We had purchased a tuff tray on the advice of my friend and I’m glad we did as it keeps the activities contained and we all know how important that is! Each activity came with a set of helpful online instructions, with videos accompanying them to show you how to do everything. It really was simple, so once she was down for her nap, with the promise of lots of messy play to come, I began setting up some activities.
The initial box lasted a week, and we’ve used the products again and again since, with activities that were able to keep Lily engaged for anywhere between 20 – 45 minutes. They all encouraged questioning, laughing and a chance to show daddy what we had created each day.
Below are just some of the activities we completed!
Coloured rice rainbow
The coloured rice was a great way to welcome Lily downstairs after her nap. She was able to talk about the colours and we tried singing the rainbow song too! Of course, my brilliant artwork didn’t last too long but she loved the texture in her hands and she mixed up the rice creating a ‘soup’ as she liked to call it!
I added in a few kitchen items such as cups, bowls, a sieve and even some tongs which she loved to experiment with. We even brought some teddies over to join the fun as well!
Next, we experimented with the colourful beads that I laid out on the kitchen table top one cloudy morning. For these, we just used a bowl and let her explore the texture with her hands. I am quite keen to improve her fine motor skills so the tongs helped her to grip as she transferred the beads from one container to another.
Again, random items from the kitchen allowed her to develop her own imagination and soon she was cooking lunch for us all (whilst I did the same opposite her). It really is a great way to engage kids and later on we took the beads out to the mud kitchen and she added water and continued playing!
The cloud dough, which is a lovely light, mouldable material and smells just like peppermint, was another big hit with Lily. She enjoyed getting more hands on and was able to copy numbers I had written on paper into the dough using her finger. The versatility of all the products means we can integrate learning into her play so easily, but more importantly in a fun way so she doesn’t quite realise!
Playdough of course is a staple in any toddlers creative play. It’s great for making monsters with and as our daughter is a big fan of dinosaurs at the moment, it made an excellent grassland to be stomped over.
The playdough comes in lots of colours and Lily loved rolling it up and talking through what she was making. An ideal activity for any messy monsters!
Other activities include slime, mud and gloop. Again, messy fun, full of colour and creative opportunities. The fact that there’s minimal fuss, everything is labelled with full instructions and the price is really reasonable means we’ve already bought our second box and been able to choose our favourite 7 activities too.
Each session brings new ideas that are helping Lily to focus for a prolonged period of time on one activity rather than rushing around and maybe not fully engaging with any one toy. It’s also meant my husband can join in the fun after a day of work.
Once they reopen we will definitely be visiting their Mess Around workshops, which look fantastic! What a wonderful idea and the pictures and memories created are fab too!