What is Your Favorite Mess-Free Activity?

Mess-Free Finger Painting
By MaryAnne of mamma smiles =)

Here is a fun activity found on the mama smiles =) blog.
This activity is a super-simple way to let children finger paint without dealing with the mess! Use a plastic Ziploc bag (freezer works best, since the plastic is stronger), and add paint or a similar colored substance. We have used paint, shampoo, hair gel – you name it, and we have probably tried it. I think hair gel from the dollar store is our favorite texture! You can add food coloring or paint to the non-paint substances. I prefer to use washable paint, since the plastic bag can break, and it’s hard to get food coloring out of clothes – and even off of hands!

Put a sheet of white paper underneath to allow for greater contrast. I taped the edges down with masking tape. Painter’s tape would work just as well, and you could even use scotch tape, although that might be a bit more challenging to remove from the table.

Stabilizing the bag made it easier to control the paint, so that two children could play together, or one child could explore in greater depth.

Have you tried this project? Do you have a favorite mess free project to share with other nannies?


  1. Toddlers love to sort, so that's relatively mess free.

  2. Kari What fun is mess free art? like colorwonder markers, takes all the imagination away from a child…LisaI don't believe arts and crafts and mess free should go together in the toddler years. It's suppose to be sensory, tactile, expoloring, etc. That's why they invented smocks and people came up with edible art recipes…. That said anything that involves construction, building, etc. blocks, making ramps to roll things off of, banging on pots and pans, vehicles, balls.Dianna Lisa can you be my nanny? :). You seem to have a great imagination! Love it!KariLisa.. you said it soo much better than I did… Yesterday we used flyswatters outside to make bubbles.. The kids had a blast.LisaOhhh, and while my charges are at school I have a daytime babysitting job with a 5 month old. My activity with him, is clear water bottles filled and sealed with things like colored popscicle sticks, colored beans, small colored decorative stones. To rattle, look at colors, push around the floor, etc. Yes he may not get to touch the small pieces but it's still visual and hearing stimulation.

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