Messy Summer Activities

Summer is coming and you know what that means, right? Long, unstructured days punctuated by “I’m bored,” and “There’s nothing to do.” Which really means kids are tired of doing all of the same things and they crave new activities they can feel excited about. This is the perfect opportunity for messy fun activity to swoop in for the emotional rescue this summer. After all, what could be more festive than a little bit of parent-approve pandemonium?

1. Franken-beauty. Make natural facial masks out of banana, avocado or cocoa. Sit kids around a large table in pairs to take turns applying masks to each other’s faces. Be sure to have some hand mirrors handy so everyone can see what all the squeals are about for a fun messy summer activity.

2. Picasso footsie. Roll out a long sheet of paper and pour puddles of acrylic paint at one end. Have each child step in one color per foot and walk across the paper. Switch to the other side of the paper to balance out the look. Trim and hang art on a fence or wall to dry. This is a great way to get messy and creative.

3. Pasta fling. Cook one box of spaghetti per participant. Get some five-gallon buckets and fill them two-thirds of the way with water. Add enough flour to thicken the water, then add cooked spaghetti. The only rules are: use your own spaghetti, no bucket-dumping, and no touching-just throwing. Put them in the square play arena and get the heck out of the way.

4. Trashion runway. For a couple of months, don’t discard your reusable recyclables. Spread them out evenly in tarps with plenty of clear tape, masking tape, painter’s tape, and Duck tape. Pair kids up into design teams. Give a time limit like one hour. The assignment is to design a runway-worthy fashion for each team out of only the trash that’s been supplied. Have a runway show afterwards to display the results.

5. Take aim, color. Mark off a square play arena outdoors with five-foot tall Bamboo garden stakes and blue painters masking tape. Fill squirt guns or squirt bottles with non-toxic watercolor paints, don a pair of clear swim goggles, and let the kids decorate each other dressed in white t-shirts and leggings or sweats. The only rule is no one leaves the field until all the paint is spent.

6. Reach for the foam. Play messy Twister in the yard by mixing foam shaving cream and food coloring. Wear clothing that can get stained. If no one wants to worry about clothing stains, simply use white shaving cream for the same effect. This is a great messy and fun summer activity.

7. Duck-Duck-Dump. Have kids sit in circle for a game of Duck-Duck-Goose. But first, hand them a cup of water and a half-cup of flour to pour over each goose’s head.

8. Three-legged color run. Set up a start and finish line for a short jaunt. Tie the legs of two kids together and have them wear clear swim goggles and white play clothing. Have other kids stand on the sidelines and throw color from bags of nontoxic Holi colors (the type used for Color Runs, available online). Repeat until everyone has run. The most colorful pair wins.

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