4 ‘No-Mess’ Toys & Activities to Save Your Sanity!

When I get caught up the ‘Pinterest’ mentality, I generally end up in a pool of my own tears while my toddler dances on the tomb of what used to be our living room.

Don’t get me wrong–Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to collect ideas! I use it all the time! But sometimes, the amount of effort it would take to create (and clean up) some of my pinned activities is, in a word, insane.

Over the past two years, I’ve learned to choose our activities very carefully–according to her needs and my energy level.

Here are 4 super easy activities that bring the creativity– without the tears:

1. *Aquadoodle Mat

Put this mat down anywhere, fill the ‘pen’ with water and let your kids draw away! It’s really fun an a good alternative to messy painting or even crayons!

In addition to drawing, we have started using this mat to learn colors (the four colors on the mat) and the alphabet (which is written around the edge of the mat and shows up when you ‘color’ with water). As my daughter gets older, I will use it as a ‘whiteboard’ to draw numbers and other things as we learn them!

*The link above goes to a mat that is slightly different than the one I bought but I can’t find the original. This looks quite similar and is the same brand!

2.Melissa & Doug Magicolor Coloring Pads

I have NO idea how this works, but have you seen these? They are markers that only mark on the coloring pages they come with and not on the carpet, the furniture or anywhere else! Um, yes please!


We love bubbles! But I HATE that the bubble solution inevitably ends up on our hands or all over the sidewalk! Fubbles are a ‘clean hand’ alternative– that are hard to spill!

4.Doodle Pad with Magnets

I LOVE this improvement on the traditional Etch-a-Sketch.

The included stamper magnets are useful for teaching shapes, creating shapes on the main drawing pad and teaching fine motor skills (by clicking them into place on the board). The attached pen is a good introduction to writing and drawing without the mess!

I’m always on the hunt for more, so please share any ‘no-mess’ toys or activities you’ve found!

Oh, and stay tuned for Thursday’s post where I will be tackling the topic of the dreaded laundry pile. See you then. 😉

4 Replies to “4 ‘No-Mess’ Toys & Activities to Save Your Sanity!”

  1. […] Aquadoodle (drawing, creating, colors, numbers, letters) […]

  2. My son loved playing with string when he was younger. He used a cats cradle book to figure out how to create various structures and it kept him busy on car rides, and while waiting for his sisters during their scouting meetings. He also loved oragami. I catagorize it as semi messy because he wanted to keep everything he made…all 100 of each structure…lol.

    1. I love these ideas!

  3. Lin Yearley says:

    One thing that has stood the test of time is a Fisher-Price set of plastic bowls, plates, cups, cupcake pan, faux ‘cupcakes’ with faux frosting lids you put on, spoons & utensils. This set is about 40 years old because it came from my nieces, then was used by my daughters & now by 3 of my 4 granddaughters. Because they are plastic, we have used them in the bathtub as well as just playtime. ( obviously I wash them with soap & hot water after bath time:-)). I Hv had gallons of imaginary tea, pretend cupcakes, soups and other things using these & my kids’ & granddaughter’s imaginations. :-). Kind of classics I guess !

Comments are closed.