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Fun messy outdoor activities with quick, easy clean-up

kid with paint on hands, outside fun

 

Kids love mess. They love making a mess and they can’t get enough of fun messy outdoor activities and experiments. But for parents like you, that mess triggers an immediate mental calculation: Is this fleeting moment of fun for your kids worth your time investment for both the set-up and the house clean-up?

It’s a mission-critical equation.

And, to save you time and headache, we’ve done those calculations for you. Here’s 4 incredibly awesome things to do with kids that meet their mess pre-requisite and your easy clean-up requirements. These ideas are worth the set up effort as well, and most have some educational value to boot. Plus, you can take everything outdoors so house cleaning is never even a factor.

 

 

 

splatter painting outside

Splatter painting, Jackson Pollock-style

So much better than water-gun painting. Pick up some canvases of various sizes at your local craft store–Michaels usually has a weekly coupon and canvas packs on sale on the regular–as well as some acrylic water-based paints. Use the cheapest wide-bristle paint brushes you can find, or forget brushes altogether and just use hands! 

Spread the canvases over your lawn, or put down a big drop sheet over your patio. An old bed sheet will do as well. The farther away from your house you can get, the better! 

Squirt a generous amount of each paint colour into a bowl and let your kids splatter away. By the end, you’ll have incredible art you’ll be proud to hang in your hallways. 

 

Pro-tip: Let your kids do this in their bathing suit or just a diaper if they’re still in ‘em! 

Easy clean-up promise: The paint will be all over your kids, but it’s all water-based. Throw them in a shower, hose them down outside or let them run through the sprinkler to do that clean-up for you. Hose errant blobs of paint right off your patio with a good solid spray, and take care of your unusually colourful lawn with your next mow. Rinse off any clothes before throwing them in the machine and BAM! You’ve just earned serious Mom-points with a fun messy outdoor art experience.

 

 

Rainbow Mentos geyser

Who doesn’t love a good fizzle explosion? All you need is a bunch of Mentos, several different bottles of pop of varying sizes––this is where the rainbow colours come into play––and a yardstick or measuring tape. 

The goal? See what kind of soda, what size pop bottle and how many Mentos it takes to create the biggest geyser! Try 500 ml bottles, 1 litre bottles and 2 litre bottles for a solid variation. 

Let your kids guess which combos will create the best fizzle-pop and then let them see if their hypothesis is correct. Do this one in bathing suits just in case some geysers are unexpectedly big or they don’t run fast enough after dropping the Mentos in the soda bottles. 

Easy clean-up promise: A quick hose off of the patio and you’re done! Even easier: Do it on a lawn and walk away without any work. Recycle the empty pop bottles and voila! Your kids think you’re awesome, and you can head into Happy Hour, well, happy!

 

 

 

 

spagetti pasta noodles

The Fun Messy Outdoor Pasta Fling

Water-balloon fights are sooooo boring. Spice up your game with a very messy and insanely fun pasta fling! 

Cook up one box of spaghetti pasta per participant. Each kid gets their own pasta bucket. To prep the buckets, fill each one ⅔ full with water and add enough flour to thicken before adding the spaghetti. Then hand them over and lay out the rules: No bucket-dumping and no hands-on contact. 

After that, it’s every pasta-person for themselves!

Easy clean-up promise: If you let your kids do this in their bathing suits–or diapers for really little ones–then just spray them down with a hose or let them run through the sprinkler before hopping in a quick shower. Fun messy outdoor activity with minimal clean-up for you? Done. 

But before you do that, have a contest to see who can pick up the most pasta from the ground and put it back in their buckets … winner gets an extra treat! Whatever’s left is compostable so you can either clean up what’s left or let nature take its course.

 

 

 

 

cork bottle rocket launch

DIY cork rockets

Start saving your wine corks because you’ve finally found a use for them! This multi-step activity is a great way to keep your kids engaged for hours and just happens to teach them about engineering, pressure, force and lift. 

 

Step 1: Build your launch pad

The key components of a solid launch pad is stability and size. It needs to be stable and large enough to hold an upside-down 2-litre pop bottle nice and snug. Pro-tip: Building your launch pad with LEGO works really well!

 

Step 2: Gather your rocket material

You’ll need: 

  • An empty, clean 2-litre pop bottle
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Paper towel
  • A cork 

 

Step 3: Prep your rocket and let ‘er fly!

  1. Pour 1 to 2 cups of vinegar into the pop bottle
  2. Cut a paper towel into squares (about 4 inches square each)
  3. Put a heaping tablespoon of baking soda in the middle of the paper towel square
  4. Fold up the paper towel so the baking soda is contained inside
  5. Put that paper towel into the mouth of the pop bottle, so it sits all the way inside the bottle neck
  6. Push the wine cork into the mouth of the pop bottle, nice and tight. 
  7. Take a big breath 
  8. Flip the pop bottle over and place it in the rocket launcher. 
  9. Run! 

 

So how high do these corks fly? Up to 50 feet in any direction depending on the wind! So make sure you take this experiment to a wide open space. A very large backyard or a school field is best for this fun messy outdoor experiment.

Easy clean-up promise: What clean up? You’re in a big open space using biodegradable, reusable and recyclable materials. Just pick up the pieces of your launcher, find your cork and grab your pop bottle to recycle when you’re done. 

 

This last activity was a lot of info but it’s so much fun … so hit the button to get these instructions in a single-page downloadable PDF and let us know how far your cork flew! 

 

 

CORK ROCKET LAUNCHER INSTRUCTIONS (click for downloadable PDF)

 

 


 

There’s no mess made indoors with these ideas, but there’s still plenty of work to do indoors … don’t do it alone. Ask Scrubbi about home cleaning services so you can enjoy more time with your kids making cork rockets and splatter painting.

 

Scrubbi

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