Containing the mess – finger painting in the bath – 15 months

We recently moved Monkey out of his highchair and onto a booster seat at the dining table for mealtimes. He is loving sitting at the table and meal times have been a bit better so it was definitely time to make the move. One of the problems with this though is when it comes to messy, creative, activities. While he was sat in his highchair, the mess was basically contained to him and his tray. At the table it gets spread all over the place. Plus he used to sit so comfortably in his high chair but now is such a fidget bum (one of the reasons we made the change to booster seat) and once he’s eaten, he wants to get down. He’s not really happy sitting anywhere for any length of time really!

So what to do? I don’t want to stop doing all the creative, messy things, but my heart flutters when I think what those little hands can do with a load of finger paints in our lovely house! So I have been trying to work out what best to do. Obviously there is outside. We play with his chalk outside, which he loves, and he is learning that it doesn’t get any further into the house than the conservatory. We also play with sand and water etc. outside. But finger paints add a whole other layer of mess don’t they? If I get a bit of sand or water on me while cleaning him, then no big deal, but I don’t really want to get covered in paint. Also, where do I clean him? The outside tap is on the front of the house so it would mean running round the front with him, but let’s face it, that water is pretty darn cold! Do I try and carry him in the house, hands under his arms, dangling him in front of me trying to avoid paint getting on everything?

It is these things that have led to the finger paints staying firmly shut away for a while! Then after getting a comment from Gill last week (I hope you’re reading Gill :)) I had an idea! The bathroom! If I set him up in the bath with the paints then he can make as much mess as he likes and then I can just hose it (and him) down afterwards with the shower! Definitely worth a go,

Note: I do this with homemade paints where the colour is food colouring and so washes off things easily. I can’t recommend doing it with bought paints unless you want to do a tiny patch test somewhere first to see if it comes off!

I set aside some time at home one day to give this a go. Unfortunately though, because the finger paints hadn’t been used in a while they had gone mouldy in the cupboard (yuk). So whilst Monkey ate his snack I quickly whipped up some more. The recipe is here, sooo easy.

Anyway, I have to say it really was a success, as you can see in the photos! He only lasted in there about 15-20 minutes, but that’s about as long as he does anything for, so not too bad. I know it’s a lot of effort to go to, both before and after, but it was definitely a lot of fun. He also hated being cleaned afterwards, but then he never likes to be cleaned so nothing new there.

Most importantly though, it came off the bathroom tiles with no problem. There are some ever so slight colour stains on the grout but nothing that concerns me or hubby too much. I’m sure it would probably come off if I bleached it anyway but you can’t even see it unless you really look. I used a load of old towels for the rest of the bathroom and had to wipe my hands on those a bit but basically the mess was contained! Woohoo! Here is our little artist having fun with his paints in the bath! He ended up a bit blue afterwards but again it’s only food colouring so I’m not too fussed 🙂






15 thoughts on “Containing the mess – finger painting in the bath – 15 months

    • Thanks, I definitely enjoyed it more too without the worry of the mess going everywhere which meant he had free rein and loved it! 🙂

  1. I wish I’d done something like this when mine were younger, they’re now 3 and 5 and I suspect it would be less ‘investigative’ and more ‘total destruction’! But I do think they’d like making the paints, it’d make a good holiday activity, thanks for the idea.

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  3. I love this idea! We moved our kiddos into booster seats just after they turned one and you’re right creative play can get rather messy at the table! We haven’t tried painting with them so I am going to give this a go next week.

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