Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids

My kids love to make messes. They’re not as enthusiastic about cleanup. At my most stressful, I tend to stand in the midst of their disaster area and say, “Well, don’t want to clean it up either! What if I decided to stop shopping for food and making dinner and cleaning your clothes??”

But those are not the sort of messes I wish to talk about today. Instead, I want to talk real messes, messes like: mud, water, dirt, homemade slime, and toasted marshmallows.

My 8-year-old came home from his Cub Scout Day Camp this week, his first time going. Covered head to toe in dirt and holding what he’d purchased at their little store, he glowed. They’d spent all day doing fun activities. They watched skits, shot a B.B. gun, and crafted. He had so. much. fun!

HTC Desire 20151206 172

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing deep, satisfied happiness on my kids’ faces. I see it when they are proud of something they worked on. There’s a flash of it when I laugh at a joke they told. There’s an almost tangible feeling of it when they’re arm-deep in sand at the beach, making castles or forts or whatnot.

We parents tend to think that fun has to be expensive. We buy gaming systems or children’s museum passes. We plan expensive vacations. We fork over cash for opening night at the movies and their overpriced concessions. We pay to attend the trampoline park, amusement park, waterslide park, or fun center park.

Why not just go to a park park?

Even if you’re not near a park or a backyard, you can still look up homemade crafts for home. I know slime’s extremely popular. Or Play-Doh. Or -even better- cookie dough.

Hands-on, tactile activities are more important for brain development than ‘strategy’ in a computer game. Interactions with physical materials help ground children (and adults) in reality. And, as I mentioned earlier, creating something with your own hands brings a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Besides, who doesn’t like to get messy?

IMAG1414

—————

Here’s what I wrote this past week:

Sunday, July 14: Advised everyone to go jump in a sprinkler in “When the Summer Gets Hot, Get Sprinklers.

Monday, July 15: “Bedtime Routine Haiku.” If only they’d stay in bed.

Tuesday, July 16: Shared a quote by Ewan McGregor.

Wednesday, July 17: Recommended hitting after-holiday sales with “Shopping Tip 1.”

Thursday, July 18: “Guess I’ll Keep Him” -a snippet about my second son.

Friday, July 19: When life gets overrun with weeds, “Stop and Smell the Bindweed.”

Saturday, July 20: Shared Batman’s Mom‘s tweet about her snarky son.

Sunday, July 21: That’s today!

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Just Don’t Buy It?

Toys are so overrated. And expensive. And messy!

The kids play with them for about five hours less than the time they play with the box it came in. Our stomachs growl in hunger for the lunch we skipped to pay for that toy (and its box). Then, to add insult to injury, we find the toy and its brothers everywhere.

markus-spiske-381725-unsplash.jpg

And so, I have concluded that we need to no longer fund this operation. My husband decided that long ago, and continually reminds me of this resolve every time he has to walk in the house.

I’ll hear his voice from the boys’ rooms: Who left all these Legos on the floor! We need to put these all away till they learn to clean up!

Then there was the time of The Battle of the Art Cupboard. I’d hear everything from, Who painted the floor? to Who didn’t clean up after his papier-mâché? to Why is there confetti all over?

I tried. Sort-of. I limited birthdays and Christmases to number and cost. I encouraged thrift and order. I devoted about a decade to teaching (yelling at) our miniature houseguests the meaning of “Clean up.” I cleaned on my own; again and again and again.

clean-3614744_1280

In frustration, I moved most of the mess out of general sight and set up a toy room in our unfinished basement.

As my husband and I snuggled in to immediately fall asleep all romantic-like, he said, We need to keep the kids’ toys in their closets. The basement is getting too messy.

Photo Credits:
Markus Spiske
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay