3 Ways to Enjoy Messy Play this Spring


Spring is a glorious time for parents. With the warmer weather, it’s easy to send the kids outside to play for hours at a time. I love my kids. But after one of the coldest winters I can remember, it’s a nice change to see them outside playing, perfectly content—instead of sulking inside with cabin fever.

Spring also makes messy play easier. No need to worry about damaging furniture or staining carpet. Messy play cleans up easily outside. Here are three fun and artistic ways to play with paint outside that your kids can enjoy this spring.


1. Sidewalk Paint


Chalk is always fun for drawing on the sidewalk or driveway, but this easy-to-make sidewalk paint allows kids to cover large areas and create huge ground-level murals with paintbrushes.


 What you need:

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup water

4 shades of food coloring



Measure ¼ cup of cornstarch and water each into four separate containers. Add several drops of food coloring to each container, and stir. Voila! Almost instant sidewalk paint. It dries in a chalky color and washes off easily with water.

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 2. Spray Chalk


Here’s another fun alternative to sidewalk chalk. Make washable spray-paint with these easy instructions. Use it on the sidewalk or grass, and have your kids cut out their own stencils to spray over for added fun.


What you need:

1 cup cornstarch

4 cups warm water

4 shades of food coloring or powdered tempera paint

4 spray bottles



Measure ¼ cup cornstarch into each spray bottle. Add a cup of warm water and several drops of food coloring or a teaspoon of powdered tempera paint to each. Shake to stir, and begin painting! To avoid clogging spray bottles, shake frequently and before spraying.


3. Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Paint


This paint works on paper, not concrete, but I know as parents we often hesitate to get out the paints inside. This is a fun way to create scratch ‘n’ sniff paintings without worrying about the mess indoors.


What you need:

Several shades (flavors) of unsweetened drink mix (like Kool-Aid)

Warm water

Small cups, ice cube trays, or muffin tins



Combine 1 tablespoon of drink mix with 1 tablespoon of warm water in a container. Stir until mix is dissolved. Paint on paper with watercolor brushes. Allow to dry completely before scratching and sniffing.

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