Small children, toddlers especially, are awfully cute but tend to get exceptionally messy while playing. Ask any mother and she will readily vouch for the truthfulness of this statement. Yet, there are ways to bring down the mess to the absolute minimum. Follow the tips listed below and you will soon find yourself enjoying a cleaner, cosier home (and more spare time!) after your little one has finished playing.
Select the Play Space Mindfully
Selecting a suitable space for play is of crucial importance if you insist on reducing the time you spend cleaning afterwards. After all, you cannot leave the child on the sofa or carpet with a set of watercolours and expect to find the place in an immaculate condition once play is over. It would be best if you and your little one spend some quality time, playing in an area that would be easier to clean up afterwards. Think, tiled kitchen floors, bathrooms or the garden. The tiles are exceptionally easy to clean up. All it takes is vacuuming or sweeping up the mess and mopping the tiles and you’re done.
No Need to Bring out the Entire Toy Arsenal
Provided that you have already made up your mind on the type of activity you and your child will engage in, there is no need to bring out every single toy the little one possesses. Limit yourself to two or three play items at a time. This will spare you from feeling overwhelmed when the time you need to clean up the mess approaches. Not to mention it will reduce the time you spend cleaning up the items, simply because you will have fewer toys to deal with.
Spread a Towel on the Floor
If you intend to engage the child in some activities involving the use of water (like water colouring for instance), it would be a good idea to think in advance and prevent mess from ever happening, instead of trying to come up with quick ways to clean it up afterwards. Spread a towel, an old shower curtain or worn out table-cloth on the tiled floor. The fluffy cloth will absorb the water drops. It will also be nice to arrange the colouring supplies in a metal or a plastic tray and place it on top of the towel or cloth as this will contain the mess within a limited area.
Use the Bathtub for Finger Painting
Finger painting can be as much fun as it can be messy. The good news is there is a way to reduce the mess and double the fun at the same time. Provided that your child is interested in finger painting in particular, you can easily carry out such activities in an area that is quick to clean. Why not do it in the bathtub or bathroom for example? There are no causes for concern as far as you are using water soluble paint. This way you will not even have to use detergents to remove it from the walls of your bathtub – water will suffice. Another excellent idea suggested by domestic cleaners in NW3 is to decorate a plastic tray, using washable markers. These will come off with a single wipe.
Strip the Child Down to Its Underwear
This is always a good idea, especially if you are a proud parent of a preschooler. When playing at home, the child does not necessarily have to wear its best garments. In fact, it would be far better if there are no garments at all, save for the little one’s underwear and nappies (if you have a toddler). Lord knows paint, even if it’s water soluble, is difficult to wash out. If the child prefers to mould different shapes from dough or plasticine, there’s a good chance the latter will become embedded in the clothes’ fabric and it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove. Washing the clothing won’t be much of a help, either.
Play in the Garden
As summer draws near, taking your playing activities outside presents itself as the perfect alternative to spending quality time in the house. This will not only reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up the mess after playing inside but will also enable the child to explore the world outside and learn new things about various plants in your garden. The options are limitless – you can play ball, teach the child to jump rope etc. If your little one is not old enough to engage in such activities, here’s a good idea for you – make soap bubbles. The only materials you will need for the purpose are a cup, a plastic straw, water and liquid dish soap. If the child is very young, there is a good chance they will accidentally ingest the soap mixture. It would be best if you blow the bubbles for them and ask them to pop them with their little fingers – having fun is guaranteed.
Following the tips, we have listed above is a great way to reduce the mess in your home and enjoy some quality time, playing with your little one. As becomes evident, having fun and cleaning up an overwhelming mess afterwards do not necessarily go hand in hand.