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Making messy play less messy

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Almost every parenting site features the benefits of messy play but the thought of cleaning up the aftermath had really put me off till I figured out that it’s possible to minimise the mess without compromising on the fun and learning! Let me share some of my tried-and-tested ways to make the cleanup tolerable.


1. Cover the play space

You can easily do it by using a piece of cloth, bedsheet or even a shower curtain.


My personal favourite is definitely the bedsheet because I can prop up the sides by placing a stool at each corner. It turns into a playpen instantly to contain all the mess! And who doesn’t have an old bedsheet lying around the house, right?


When the messy play involves paints, I like using a shower curtain as I can wash down the paints easily after the play.


Image on location with Lil Play Garden

2. Do it in the bathroom or outdoor

Depending on what material you have offered to your child, you can just hose down the area or sweep up the mess. It’s so easy, and you never have to worry about staining your clean wall or nice carpet.


Image on loction with PlayOClock


3. Cover your child up

When our child was small, we used to put an art smock on her so that she didn’t stain her clothes.


But we eventually dropped it and just let her wear her “messy play clothes”. These are old clothes which we don’t mind having stains on. We notice that she plays more freely without having the smock.


4. Keep it simple

Pick something easy to set yourself up for success.


The idea of messy play is to let kids play using their senses. So even the simplest game like pouring water is messy play too!


On location with Mini Magic Messy Play


5. Organise a messy playdate

Having a messy playdate means more hands to do the cleanup. After a fun and chaotic play, moms can clean up together by taking different jobs.


With teamwork, everything will be put back together in no time!



Messy play doesn’t have to be that messy and terrifying. But if you are still not ready for the mess, why not join the IBU messy playgroup? We have regular messy playdates which are open to members and non-members.


Here is a shoutout to our favourites messy play artists- Play0Clock, Mini Magic Messy Play, Lil' Play Garden. All the pictures you see are during IBU activities with them, thank you for making clearing up easy for all of us.

Recently, we also had a Member Special Event at Little Palette where the children had fun playing with paints and bubbles. Check out IBU’s calendar for our messy playdates here.


PS- a bigger chance to really get messy! From creating rainbows to assembling Tuk-tuks. Calling all our budding graphic designers, there are tee shirts to be made too. Plus F&B tables and even merch to buy. We hope to see you all at the IBU Art & Crafts Day, on the 13th of May 2023. Click here to book your tickets.

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