Monday, June 4, 2012

Outdoor Messy Play Date

A few months ago I was introduced to Crystal and her blog Growing a Jeweled Rose (which I highly recommend visiting if you are looking for toddler activities).  I was very intrigued with the messy play dates she hosts in her home.  I pinned a few, shared a few with my husband and asked him, "Do you think I could do that outside?"  

A few weeks passed and Crystal posted "Tips For Hosting A Messy Play Date."  After reading her post, I was convinced I could host a messy play date.  I prepared and sent an email to several friends gauging their interest in attending.  A few things I included in the email (based on Crystal's tips):
  • I will gladly gather the supplies and set up the stations (along with a place to rinse off once the fun has ended)
  • Each family will be asked to give $10 to cover the cost of the supplies and a small lunch for the children
  • I need at least 10 people to commit before moving forward
The response was great, so needless to say I moved forward with planning 5 messy stations, setting the date/time, and organizing a small lunch.  

On May 30th, I hosted my first messy play date and it was a BLAST!!!!!!!  Including my son, there were 14 children (plus 4 little ones) and 12 moms.  

There were 5 stations:
  • Creature Catch-Digging in soil to find plastic insects, bugs, lizards, snakes, etc.
  • Paint a Rock-Self explanatory :)
  • Barnyard Sensory Play-Rice filled pool with Little People Barn, plastic animals, containers to fill, handkerchiefs, and cowboy hats
  • Bubble Bazaar-Pan full of bubble solution with various wands
  • Marker Madness- Paper hung with available markers and stickers

Lunch included:
  • Turkey/Cheese Sandwiches
  • Pretzels
  • Strawberries/Grapes
  • Water
  • A friend offered to bring a tray of Cuban sandwiches and chips for the adults.  Thanks Lisa!
The play date was set to begin at 10 a.m., but a few showed up early, so we started around 9:40 a.m.

The kids absolutely loved the Barnyard Sensory Play.  They enjoyed filling the watering cans/cowboy hats with rice and pouring it into the farm.  They also enjoyed dumping it out onto the ground, which we tried to prevent as much as possible.  This was probably the most popular station.

Kids simply love bubbles, especially toddlers.  To keep my first messy play date set up more simple, I decided to fill a tub with bubbles and allow the kids to be as messy as the wanted.  They are more used to their moms (me included) trying to prevent them from spilling the bubbles, being annoyed because they aren't using the wand correctly, etc.  

Not this time.......They were allowed to play to their hearts content and make as big of a mess as they wanted.

I LOVE this photo of my son's best bud Bradford.  I just hope he doesn't beat me up for sharing it when he is a teenager :)

Kids love dirt and while some kids don't love bugs most of them enjoyed digging for them.  Plus, it didn't take long before those who weren't interested in the bugs to begin using the various instruments (shovels, looking glass, nets, etc.) to simply dig the dirt.

Bennett and Noah made a great catch!!

Hannah LOVED the dirt!!!!

When brainstorming activities I thought about the things my son loves to do.  One of those activities is play with stickers.  He doesn't love markers as much, but several of his buddies do.  I knew it would be easy to couple the two together and have a wall where the kids could stick and mark as they please.

Roman was diggin' the DINO and safari stickers!!

Of course, this is where my son spent most of his time.

Thanks for helping with the more challenging stickers Anna! 

Don't you love Bella's colorful legs?

I did not anticipate how big of a mess the "Paint A Rock" station would be, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.  I know it was a messy play date, but even this kind of grossed me out (keep scrolling to see the aftermath).

I sat out lunch around 11:15 a.m.  The moms prepared the plates for their children and we all sat outside to eat.  Following lunch, some played a little longer, but several had to go home for nap time.

We live in South Florida, so it was HOT!  However, you can't keep your kids inside all day every day, so it was worth the sweat.

There was a lot of set up, but I will definitely do it again.  It was totally worth the time, as the kids had a BLAST and it was great to chat with some of the mothers.  

Here is a little of the aftermath:

I want to host a water based messy play date in June, but with vacation and VBS I am going to hold off till July (however, I am already brainstorming and have most of the plans set).  Then, we'll be on break until baby #2 arrives and I move out of the "newborn fog."  Hopefully, I will be able to resume when the weather is a bit cooler!!!  Yay, for winters in South Florida.

Thanks to all of my friends who came and brought their children.  You made the planning and set up totally worth it.

Crystal--Thanks for all of your help and for inspiring me to host a messy play date.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment. 

Now, I'll leave you with my little cowboy!!

Tuesday TotsPhotobucket


Crystal Underwood said...

Oh wow! What a fantastic post, and play date! Well done mama! I love the stations. The photos are fantastic. Looks like the little ones had a blast! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I am sharing this with my readers now :)

Justine said...

This looks like so much fun! I really want to do something like this too in the near future!

oana79 said...

This looks like so much fun! I will bear the idea in mind for when I move and want to make new friends, it will definitely help break the ice in the neighbourhood!

Anna Boney said...

I LOVE the photo Bradford! Awesome snap!! We died laughing!! Can't wait for the next!!

Tiffany said...

This is awesome! I am so doing this this summer!! Thanks for sharing. :)

PlainVanillaMom said...

Stopping by via Growing a Jeweled Rose. You did an amazing job! Makes me want to have a messy playmate. My little guy is a little to little yet. You did great. You captured some great images too!

Unknown said...

Loved your set up. Great work!! I know how them HOT days can be in Fl, born and raised there(Orlando). New Follwer from post on Crystal's FB.

Nate and Molly said...

This is fantastic!

BTW, as my boys are about to turn 12 months, I'll be turning to your posts on pre-toddler activities!

AP Mommy said...

I love it!! Can I ask what dirt you used? I'm so doing this sometime this summer!!

Rainy Day Mum said...

What a fantastic play date - I would have loved to haev come as an adult let alone a child.

Thank you for linking to Tuesday Tots this week

J's Mom said...

I know this was from a couple years ago but this is great! So much fun for the kiddos. What are your ideas for a messy water play date? Did that ever happen?