I need to make sure it’s easy and safe enough for an 18 month toddler, an active 3 year old and will keep a 5 year old interested and not zooming ahead of the rest. Would love some ideas that are easy to set up and would keep them going for a while.

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  • You could try using a contact roll, I cut a piece and tape it to our back glass sliding door and then have a bunch of craft supplies (pom pots, feathers, coloured icy pole sticks etc that little ones can stick to it and make there own art. It all peels off easily as well so your not wasting those supplies and can use them for other activities

  • I would have suggested Play Dough or a simple puzzle.

  • Stickers are alway a hit in our house, along with playdough. A plastic table cloth makes cleaning up a breeze.

  • Check out the arts and crafts on MoMs. Lots of great activities for all age groups on here. But you can’t be serious about arts and crafts with no mess?! Mess is half the fun!!!

  • My 19mth old does a few things at daycare – cut and paste (pre cut pictures and she pastes) maybe your eldest can do the cutting, she also plays with goop, paint and playdough. Goop and paint , maybe outside if you want to keep your house clean! Other activities might be putting pebbles into plastic bottles, sticking objects like wool and cardboard to make collages, drawing and crayons.

  • If we use paint but i dont want much mess i usually do those marble drawings. Put a piece of paper flat in the bottom of a container and roll the paint dipped marble around. Plus you can get larger marbles so its much safer for the little one, and they should like the shaking.

    One thing that we do that requires such little clean up that isnt really art, but my girl does draw pictures in it – we get a tray of baking soda, and coloured vinegar, i give her the tray and the different coloured vinegar with pipettes she dots the colours on to draw pictures but it also caused the reaction of “exploding” so she remains intrigued with it for a long time.
    I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and my one year old likes to watch.

    Collages can be good too, little one could to the glue with your assistance. 5 year old can learn to cut out pictures or things like that and 3 year old could be challenged to find pictures of certain colours or something like that :)

    Hope that is helpful!!

  • That is a tricky one to answer but I will give it a try for you. If you are going to be there with them you could do the following, It is called spatter painting!
    Cut some shapes out of cardboard e g stars, circles, squares , rectangles, triangles and place them on a large piece of paper.
    Then get a piece of flywire netting about 8″ x 8″ and an old toothbrush
    Dip the toothbrush in some non toxic paint and rub it over the flywire holding it above the cardboard cut outs. Voila. you will have a nice spatter work design when you lift off the cut outs after the paint has dried. You can get some lovely results. It is great fun for the kids. Just make sure you turn the edges back on the fly wire. I think this a relatively safe fun thing for the kids to do.

  • Playdough is another idea, there are many sites on the net to make your own.Do remember to supervise to avoid any nasty accidents with even small amounts of water.

  • Take the kids for a walk give them each a small bag any leaves, small sticks, flowers they find go in the bag when you get home cut up some clear contact the same size take the back off 1 sheet let the kids arrange their treasures onto the contact then cover with another sheet of contact in the same size they could make bookmarks or anything my son has a couple on the wall in his room he’s proud that he made it himself or give them as gifts

  • Get a bucket of water and pick some cheap paint brushes in varying sizes you would use to paint your house with and let them run riot on a warm day painting on the walls of the house. Do remember to supervise to avoid any nasty accidents with even small amounts of water.

  • Colouring in to me is the least messy craft option. I just give my kids a heap of craft stuff and let them cut, glue and colour to their hearts content. If your worried about mess, get a role of butchers paper lay it outside and let them paint with brushes, hands and feet…then it’s just matter getting in the bath and washing it off.
    Playdough is another idea, there are many sites on the net to make your own.

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