A Messy Party with the Art Group


We had a messy party with the Toddler Art Group yesterday.

This was our second one inspired by a Mothering magazine article called Sam’s Messy Afternoon.

We moved the art table outside since “messy party” and “inside” are for braver people than I.

Paint went into muffin tins. Glue bottles were brought out. Various textured materials such as salt, flour, corn starch, cornmeal, baking powder, pasta, etc. were placed in bowls and loaf pans.

The kids were let out of the house and instead of noisy mayhem (which I thought would go hand in hand with a messy party) there was calm and quiet as they explored all the materials at the table.

Maybe it was the change in scenery or maybe the free access to mounds of flour and salt.

Who knows.

But they had fun. (And then moved on to swinging and sliding and watering the plants.)

Here Marlise and Maia are exploring paint and flour.


Justin is building a mountain out of flour and pasta.

And Thalia is intent on adding glue to her creation.

How about you? Would you try a messy party with kids?


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  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 4:55 am

    hi there! i just found your blog and i am incredibly impressed and inspired. my one question about working with glue and paints and things for toddlers is – do you find they try to eat these materials? my daughter is 2.5 and i have trouble keeping markers and paints out of her mouth. obviously everything is non-toxic, but i’d still rather she didn’t eat glue.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 7:50 am

    what a neat party! i would love to do a messy party for one of my girls bday parties but the gammos would be having heartattacks the whole time ! LOL heheehe

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 9:02 am

    yeah, i was so surprised how calm the kiddos were at the messy party! it was so fun seeing them so engrossed in their art… and seeing them doing very different things with all the choices.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 9:31 am

    That looks like SO much fun.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

    what a great idea for a party!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 11:36 am

    What fun!!!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    The kids are calm because they’re busy and involved. Besides, “messy” is an adult concept. Did Maia think it looked messy?
    It looks like so much fun that I wish I could have joined them.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for asking answering the bit about art supplies in the mouth. I have had a niggling worry that I was moving too soon with things as my 19 month olds were tasting art today.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Barbara – Good point!
    Anna – When these kids were younger, many of them would put paint or marker or whatever in their mouths and we would just watch closely and redirect the art materials (and not worry too much–it’s a normal way for toddlers to explore the world). Some still do on occasion, but for the most part they’ve grown out of that stage. If your daughter is putting the art materials in her mouth, my guess is she still needs to explore things that way a bit but that she’ll grow out of it soon enough. I would just supervise her closely during art projects as long as she tends to put things in her mouth.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    May 16, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    sounds (and looks) like my kind of party!

  • Reply
    Katherine Donaldson
    May 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Where did you get that great table? I’d love to have some toddler art parties with my 2yr old, but I’m stumbling a little over the table. Yours looks great though, nice and low and big, 4’x8′? Is it an adjustable height one? I found a nice one at Kaplan’s but it’s almost $300 which seems really expensive.

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