Everyone always says how important it is to encourage your child’s creativity, and it’s really true. Arts and crafts inspire their creativity, boosts their manual dexterity and increases their self-confidence.
It also can leave a massive mess behind.
I know one of the things that makes me hesitant about setting up arts and crafts projects at home is the thought of cleaning up the mess afterwards! It doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, though – here are some tips for keeping everything clean after a spirited art activity:
Prep Ahead of Time
A little bit of work before you begin saves a lot of work at the end of the day. Taping paper on top of the table or work surface prevents spills and stains from the furniture. Aprons and smocks prevent spills and stains from the children! If your kids love to paint, investing in some spill-proof paint cups can save you hassle after hassle. In general, preparing for messes before they happen can make cleanup a snap when they do.
Cleaning is Learning
Your kids helped make the mess, they can help clean it up! You can turn clean-up into an age-appropriate activity and help them learn at the same time. You can teach sorting – asking them to, for example, find all the red crayons – and counting – “you can go outside once you put five crayons in the basket” – while cleaning. If you make a game out of it – say, putting on a silly song and challenging them to put everything away before it ends – then it can be almost as fun as making the mess in the first place.
As any of us with young children know, it’s very, very difficult to keep everything spotless. Not everything will be perfectly cleaned and organized every time you use it; it can be an uphill battle at the best of time. It’s alright if there’s a streak of marker still on a table or a splotch of paint on some clothes. You don’t need to get everything 100% clean right then and there; some of it can wait until you can do a more in-depth cleaning of the area. If you have a designated arts-and-crafts area, it’s alright if it gets a little messy; think of it as a demonstration of the creativity that goes on there! A positive attitude can help make dealing with the cleanup that much easier.