Here are a couple of games that Rose made up that SOUND creative and simple, but in fact make the biggest, most annoying messes in the world faster than you can imagine.
Rose loves books. She “reads” constantly, as does Lily. Lately, however, she’s taken to play a game she calls either “library” or “shopping” depending on her mood. She takes all the books off the shelves and over to the couch claiming she is “buying them” or “checking them out”. She talks to an imaginary cashier/librarian and says “Hello, I want to buy this! And this! And this! Here’s my money!” (alter for library. It’s usually a bookstore though, which is interesting because we rarely buy books yet we are at the library every other week or so.) It makes a tremendous mess very quickly and Rose doesn’t really clean yet. She might half-heartedly put a book or two back on the shelf, but then she gets distracted and that’s it. I haven’t discovered how to get small children to clean before they encounter the peer pressure of daycare/preschool. If there’s a secret to this that doesn’t involve me becoming anal about picking up the toys every 5 minutes myself, let me know.
2) My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake Throw a Birthday Party
Thanks to a garage sale, we have probably 20 My Little Ponies. They live with the Strawberry Shortcake stuff because Hasbro toys have nearly identical accessories. Everyone comes out at the same time with their teeny tiny accessories by the dozen. Then Rose takes out the fake birthday cake, which has six velcro pieces that can be topped with strawberries, blueberries, flowers or Oreos, of which there are six each. There are also six plates, six forks, a cake serving set and a platter. All of the Hasbro toys come to the birthday party and eat cake. There are probably 300 individual pieces of toy strewn about the floor for this event. Happy birthday, ponies! It’s creative, but it destroys the playroom in about 10 seconds.
3) Puzzle Building
Puzzles are great learning tools. I’ve always encouraged the kids to do them and they are very good at them for their age, but 24-100 pieces create a mess immediately. I cringe the second a puzzle is dumped on the table by Rose because I know she probably won’t complete it and there will be pieces EVERYWHERE.
I don’t think this even deserves an explanation. We all know Play-Doh is ridiculously messy and has way too many accessories.
I keep a little table out for the kids all the time. It has crayons, paper and coloring books so they can draw and color whenever they want. They love to draw and do it all day long. I’m glad they love it. I feel like they are doing something to improve their minds even though I’m ignoring them while trying to tame their fussy baby sister, but mostly thanks to Rose (and a little bit thanks to Lily), this is what the coloring table looks like within one day of my cleaning it.
Why do I blame Rose? Most of the drawings on the floor are hers. Lily’s drawings all end up in a neat pile on the counter because she doesn’t want Rose to get her hands on them and color over them. I don’t want to discourage drawing. I DO encourage/require cleaning it up, but sometimes it’s just easier to pretend like the drawing table does not exist and to step over the mess. I also often pretend like our whole playroom doesn’t exist. This would be a lot easier if our playroom had a door.
Actually, it would be a lot easier to pretend like the whole entire house didn’t exist because every single game/role-playing event my kids do results in chaos.
For a few weeks, I stupidly thought we had the mess under control and that Lily was cleaning too much, but that’s another story for another time.