My Introduction into the World of Instagram Play Prompts!

I started Mega Awesome Messy Art (MAMA) to document our journey with messy art and to offer tips/advice for others who wanted to create messy memories at home. At the time I had no idea there was a huge community out there of like minded people all wanting to do the same thing!

I was introduced to the world of Play Prompts and Challenges on Instagram when I saw the hashtag #the12weeksofwinter. The aim was to create activities based on a theme that the account put out so I thought I’d have ago for “sunshine”. I created a little montage of us in each season with our shadows and to my surprise our idea was featured and I was then hooked! I found that having a theme allowed me to create activities I would otherwise not have thought of and my son also enjoyed knowing what ‘week’ it was so he could then tell me his ideas too! We picked from different accounts and I tried to tailor activities to what my son was into at that particular moment (mainly dinosaurs, Paw Patrol, vehicles and getting messy!)

After following play prompts I then took the next step and joined a fantastic team who put out play/activity ideas each month. When I joined it was #march_play and now we’re on #august_play which is based on ART IN AUGUST (right up our street!!!) This group changes slightly each month and includes people from all over the world! We bounce ideas off each other and create themes and prompts that people can pick and choose to have a go at. It has given me a fantastic drive to try new things, for example; before joining this group I’d never heard of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) then for #july_play we chose this as a theme for the month and it was fantastic. My son loved doing experiments and learning new concepts and so did I! We’ve also learnt about spin art, coloured rice, magic milk experiments, schemas, clouds in a jar and big outdoor art to name but a few! The group is also another support network for this fantastic but difficult journey that is parenthood!

Whilst participating in play prompts/challenges the issue that Instagram shows a ‘false account of play’ as the pictures are often too ‘perfect’ or ‘posed’ has come up quite a bit. I am hoping our account shows this isn’t always true, as whilst I love setting up beautiful trays and I do take ‘arty’ style photos of the process my main aim is focusing on what my children enjoy and things do not stay ‘perfect’ for long! I also limit myself to taking photos towards the beginning of and end of an activity so the play is not interrupted and my children can have my full attention. Often the direction I thought the play will go is completely different to the way it ends up, which I think is fantastic.  I try to accommodate my son’s wishes as far as possible as often they end up better than mine!

As well as my children having the freedom to be creative I really enjoying being able to express myself through art too by; setting up the play trays, taking photos and making things from their messy art creations such as collages, cards and gifts. I have also started drawing and painting again myself which I find allows me to relax and have some down time (not very much with two kids but every little bit helps!)

So in summary; I am thoroughly enjoying being immersed  in the fantastic community of play and thank all of those who have welcomed us with open arms. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is not to feel pressured to do ALL of the prompts if you feel they will not suit your child, just choose or tailor those that grab your imagination. After all, there is no point in doing an activity if your child doesn’t want to do it, because the whole point is to HAVE FUN!!!

Here is a ‘montage’ of all the things we’ve been getting up to over the last 5 months, I will be putting out some more focused blogs about groups of similar activities soon, so keep an eye out and please follow us on Instagram if you’re not already, maybe you will want to join in and play along too!!!

 

Play prompt pictures for each month courtesy of @playtime_with_dougie, all other images are from @megaawesomemessyart.

MAMA Children’s Activity Post: “FIZZY EGGS”

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It is ‘Easter’ week for #april_play which I am co-hosting on Instagram. My son really enjoyed an activity we did in ‘April Showers’ week when we made “Fizzy Rainclouds” by mixing baking powder with grated blue chalk and then dropping vinegar onto it to watch the fizzing reaction. I therefore decided to try the experiment again with an Easter twist!!!

The equipment needed for this activity was:

  • Activity space – tuff tray/activity mat.
  • Old clothes/aprons.
  • Coloured chalk.
  • Cheese grater.
  • Plastic bowls.
  • Spoons.
  • Baking powder.
  • Plastic eggs you can open and fill.
  • Egg box.
  • Vinegar (I used white vinegar).
  • Water sprayer.
  • Other decorations – I put out some cardboard eggs.

Prior to starting the activity I grated up some of the large outdoor chalks and then mixed this with baking powder (roughly half & half). I put this ‘fizzy powder’ into plastic eggs of the corresponding colours. I had white eggs too so for these I just put in plain baking powder. I poured white vinegar into a water sprayer and put this and the eggs on our tuff tray and the activity was ready!

I asked my son what he thought was in the eggs? He replied “lets hatch them and see!” It was lovely to see the delight on his face when all the different colours came pouring out!! He decided to make little piles on the cardboard eggs I had put out and enjoyed mixing the colours up with his hands and the ‘egg shells’.

Once he had poured all the ‘fizzy powder’ out I gave him the water sprayer (one of his favourite things) and encouraged him to spray the powder to see what happened. Initially he did not spray enough on but once he got going and saw the fizzing you could see he remembered and got really into it!

Obviously once he’d saturated all the ‘fizzy powder’ there was a request for “more please mama”. Luckily I had prepared extra as I knew this would happen!! My son then spooned/poured more ‘fizzy powder’ onto the piles and he continued spraying.

He explored things with his hands and feet too and decided at the end he wanted to make a ‘waterfall’. This comprised of pouring all of the remaining vinegar out –  this caused much delight and ALOT of fizzing!!! Go to our Instagram account to see video of this!!!

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After my son had finished he decided he wanted to help wash up and he enjoyed playing with all the plastic eggs in the sink for a bit whist I cleaned up the majority of the mess!! Don’t forget to check out #april_play and all of these fabulous accounts!!!

First blog post

Launched in 2017 Mega Awesome Messy Art (MAMA) is a site for crafty, enthusiastic parents and their children to find fun art based activities to try in the comfort of their own home and to create memories which will last a lifetime!

So if you like the idea of quick simple art activities to do (and don’t mind getting a little messy along the way) this is the place for you!