You Say Mess Free, I Say Magic

My daughter loves to create and I always want to encourage her artistic endeavors. What I don’t want to encourage is the scenes that look like they are straight out of a Dexter kill scene with red splattered on walls and furniture everywhere. Did I mention she really loves painting with red? Who wouldn’t it though right? It’s bright, stains everything, and is full of emotional expression. I have paint stained grout and walls that make me feel more like I live in an artist studio than a grown-up house.

When I found the “Mess-Free” line of Crayola products, I felt like I had just been let in on a big parenting secret. From the stamp set to the markers, I was excited to give my daughter the chance to create without the work of wiping and scrubbing out all the “outside the lines” marks she makes.

Here are some of our faves:
Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Art Desk

The stamps make for creative fun from making scenes to just getting some proprioceptive input by drawing on the solid board. My daughter spends lots of time creating with this magical set and there are no smocks required at this art desk.

Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Light Up Stamper

What kid doesn’t love to stamp things? What parent doesn’t loathe scrubbing excessive stamps off their kids’ hands, face, arms, legs, and themselves? This is a match made in heaven for stamp loving kids and parents who aren’t so keen on going to work with smeared ink on their cheeks. The ink pads light up as you use them for added visual input and fun.

Crayola Color Wonder Mess-Free Finger Paints & Paper

What? Finger paints that don’t require drop cloths and a hose to clean up after? Sign me up. Crayola has really outdone themselves with this magic mess-free line up of art products that will give your child lots of creative sensory play.

 

Crayola did not sponsor this post, but I wouldn’t say no if they offered them to me, because I am smitten with the entire Color Wonder Mess-Free line.

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For the Love of Stacking

Once my daughter got the hang of stacking, there was no stopping her. When she struggled early-on to put one block on top of the other, I did what any other panic-stricken mom afraid her daughter was falling behind would do: I invested in stacking toys and found a couple that really helped give my daughter the edge amongst her stacking peers. Stacking quickly became one of her favorite ways to avoid bedtime. She would stack the hell out of blocks and toys while I applauded and cheered her on well past her bedtime. She learned early on how to get out of sleeping, and here are some of her favorite bed-avoiding tactics toys.

Melissa & Doug ABC/123 Blocks

These classic toys seem almost as necessary as diapers. I still find these mixed in with other toys. The durable wood construction means they survive toddler antics. My flat screen tv is another story. The Melissa & Doug ABC/123 blocks also work for sorting by color as well as number and letter recognition. And baby’s first drums. Stacking towers and destroying them made for lots of laughs and fun.

Tobbles by Fat Brain Toys

This brightly colored gem was introduced to me by one of my daughter’s therapists. The two layers and unusual shape made for good sensory exploration. These uniquely shaped Tobbles by Fat Brain Toys are weighted to make stacking fun and easy in all sorts of combinations giving toddlers a chance to explore different sizes, balance, and spinning.

Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort Board

Melissa & Doug toys are well known for mixing up fun and skill building into great toys and who doesn’t love this classic take on shape sorting? My daughter was sorting shapes and colors long before she could ever say words like “circle” or “red”. The Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort board is a great introduction to counting too. She would do this over and over and over and for a toddler who had the attention span of a fruit fly, that was a big deal.

What are your favorite stacking toys?

A Cure for Rogue Peas: A Re-Play Plates Review

My daughter isn’t much of a cuddler and she expects the same out of her food. A pea looking for a little squeeze from a fish stick is simply not allowed and if it dares to happen, one person must be held accountable and that one person is me – the resident short order cook of the house. After cooking three meals some nights – because foods were touching and therefore became “disgusting” – I decided it was time to invest in some plates with dividers. My dreams of being one of those food art moms fell to the wayside.

While I am a fan of recycled goods, I had a few reservations about how well these Re-Play divided plates would clean up, but I gave them a try anyway. We are now six months in and almost every type of food and sauce has graced the sturdy plastic plates. I usually rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and so far there has been no staining. They also wash up easily if you need to reuse them in the same day or sometimes during the same meal if something isn’t cooked to my 4-year-old’s requirements. I also really like that these are sturdy. My daughter is heavy handed with silverware, but these dishes don’t show the wear and tear that I have seen on other plastic dishes.

Peas are now kept safely away from fish sticks and pasta dare not touch a meatball without approval. Peace has been restored during mealtime…mostly.

If you have a kid who prefers their meals to be a little (or a lot) more organized, these plates are a quick fix. And with deep sides, they help minimize mess. I can’t make any promises about whether or not it’ll get your child to eat their peas, though.

No compensation was received for this post. I just really like the plates, ok?