Monday, September 17, 2012

Preschool Creativity with Less Mess

It takes a long time.
The end result isn't always nice.
It makes a HUGE mess.

To all these statements, I agree.  Yes, it does.  Allowing a preschooler time and supplies to be creative can take a long time, the end result isn't always frame worthy, and it almost always makes a huge mess.

The independence your child can have is a direct result of you willingness to take the time, accept the less than perfect results, and clean up countless messes.  However, sometimes, it can be nice not to have as many messes to clean up while they are learning.


Learning to work with arts and craft supplies is a lesson for life which preschoolers can learn now.

A few ideas for helping preschoolers express their creativity with less mess...

The Skill of Cutting with Scissors:

  • Teach your little one how to properly hold and carry scissors, and how to cut away from themselves.
  • Allow them to cut paper into small pieces.  These pieces can be used for paper mosaic crafts later.  Or, better yet, give them the papers you need shredded and let them cut, and cut, and cut.

The Ability to Use Glue:

  • Glue sticks and glue dots are less messy, but don't automatically ban the liquid glue.
  • Teach your little one how to open and close the tops of the liquid glue.
  • Show them how to use liquid glue in moderation.
  • Teach them how to clean up glue messes, and how to rub their hands together to remove excess glue.
  • Let them coat an entire page of paper and use those paper mosaic squares to create a design.

Sticking Stickers:

  • Does your child cover the furniture, walls, or floors with stickers?  You could teach them not to, and give them paper or a sticker book for their favorite stickers.  Or you could hang a large piece of paper on the wall or door, and allow him to display his favorite stickers for all to see.  For the ambitious, create a frame about the sticker page with markers or a mat.   


  • Clay, Play-doh, or homemade dough messes can be immense.  Cover your table with a plastic table cloth before, or take it outside.

Building with K'nex or Lego pieces:

  • Use a tray or cookie sheet with edges to contain the small pieces.  


  • Looking for a less messy alternative?  What about purchasing bath tub paints?  Or using water to paint outside?  Fill a can with water and use the brushes to paint any surface without fear of damage.

Do you have additional ideas?  Perhaps even a whole post?  If so, then please share your ideas or links in our comment section.   

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