Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Spaghetti Eleanora

As you may realise if you've read the rest of this blog, I'm not very good at messy play. Whether it's baking or painting I really struggle with the disorder, the effort, and, well, the mess. I know, this makes me a RUBBISH MOTHER, right? But I am trying my best to change, and to give Eleanor the messy play opportunities she needs.

This week's messy play is courtesy of my inability to correctly judge portion sizes - playing with leftover spaghetti. It took Eleanor a while to warm to this activity, at first thinking I was trying to feed her. I enticed her in with a spatula (she loves a spatula, does Eleanor) and showed her how she could stir the spaghetti around and drop it on the floor:
She was still rather unimpressed. So I picked up a handful and let it fall back into the bowl, making a sound along the lines of, "Oohoohoo!" Well, I'd hooked in my audience with that one. She grabbed handfuls and dropped them around, gleefully squealing, "oofoofoo!" Warming to her task, she even decided to create an 'extension activity', resourcefully grabbing her plastic bowls off the worktop (since when could she reach the worktop?) and using them to deposit handfuls of spaghetti in, still crying, "oofoofoo," for added effect.
As you can see, more spaghetti ended up on the floor than in the bowls, so I thought it best to remove Eleanor's socks. Well. Who would have thought the sensation of spaghetti underfoot could be such a delight? Eleanor started walking up and down the spaghetti-strewn floor, exclaiming, "It's slippy!" as she tested out her still-a-bit-hit-and-miss balance, occasionally threatening to fly headfirst into the oven door but always righting herself at the last moment. She enjoyed this sensation so much she decided to get properly stuck in:
After a while, her interest started to wane and she wandered off to the living room. I started clearing up, quite happy that what I thought would be a 10 minute activity had killed about half an hour. It wasn't quite over though - as one last hurrah, Eleanor decided Mouse should join in the fun:
I quite enjoyed this messy play session. It kept Eleanor occupied for longer than expected, and while the clean-up was trickier than I'd anticipated (I didn't expect her to stamp the spaghetti into the floor!) it didn't feel as arduous or stressful as other things we've tried. And it involved zero preparation, just sticking the leftover spaghetti in cold water overnight. I can see that this activity could be adapted - use the spaghetti to paint, to make pictures, or even spell words when she gets older. I wrote the word 'Eleanor' in spaghetti and it looked awesome but as she destroyed it before I could whip out my phone you'll have to take my word for that!

All in all, this wasn't a bad activity for a messy play wimp. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know, I'm determined to get this messy mummy thing sussed!!

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