Mommy fail: Sometimes I get discouraged that I can't offer my children the amazing playspaces other parents can, or afford time at a play center. I see pictures like this and get discouraged. I know my children would wreck this play space in 2.4 seconds.
My kids love to paint. They like to mix the colors, smash the paintbrush or foam brush, swirl, fingerpaint, even taste (blech). But have you seen the prices on fingerpaints or Tempura paints? and special "leak proof" paper, that won't seep onto your dining room table? Small fortunes. So what's a thrifty mommy to do?
With a little creativity and advanced planning, you can have TONS of fun for very little money!
- Egg carton: styrofoam is best so you can rinse and re-use.
- Brown Paper Bags: like from the grocery store. Each time you head to the supermarket, just ask for one paper bag to supplement your re-usable canvas bags.
- Baby Jars: If you happened to have some lying around, ask a friend who has a little one, or browse Freecycle or Craigslist for someone junking them. Honestly, even salsa jars, spaghetti jars, or any jars from your pantry before you recycle them.
- Sponges: If you don't feel like purchasing some cheap foam brushes (I got 25 assorted foam brushes from Joann's Fabrics for $5.99), you can cut up Dollar Store sponges into different shapes (use cookie cutters!) and hot-glue them to tongue depressors or popsicle sticks. Or, leave them be for little hands!
- Cookie Sheets
- Old T-shirt
- Food Coloring
- Combine 3Tbsp sugar, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2c cornstarch, and 2c water in a small saucepan.
- Warm until mixture thickens
- Cool and pour into containers (your baby jars!)
- Add food coloring to create desired colors. Remember your color wheel? You can make purple if you only have red and blue!
- Cut your paper bag open
- Tape to the cookie sheet
- Arrange different colors of paint (make sure it's cooled if you just made it) into your egg carton. If you have more than one child, just cut a dozen egg carton into two!
- Give a few sponges, paintbrushes, etc.
- Outfit your monster, er, child in the old adult T-shirt (fun tip: next time you're at the dentist, ask the hygienist for a spare disposable gown. They're AWESOME for crafts for the kids! I've used the two I've gotten for over a dozen times!)