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Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Messy Backyard Fun Day: Toy Car Wash & Marbled Paper

It seems that whenever my ROCpoppa travels for work, I end up wasting precious sleep-hours on the laptop. Last night, my focus was to fill up my Pinterest board "For the Kids." I found tons of inspiration and promptly took inventory of the supplies I had on hand to create Messy Backyard Fun Day - Part 1:

  • 1 gallon of vinegar
  • 1 box of assorted food coloring
  • plastic trays (I used the tops that sometimes come with foil lasagna pans)
  • large mixing bowl
  • plastic spoons and a plastic knife
  • plastic tablecloth
  • tall, clear containers (I used deli-salad containers)
  • disposable cups
  • plastic storage containers, various sizes (shoebox-size and larger)

And I made a grocery list of the other supplies we would need:

  • 2 pounds of baking soda
  • 2 pounds of cornstarch
  • 1 box of Borax (laundry aisle)
  • 3 cans of shaving cream (NOT gel)
  • 4 oz. Elmer's school glue
  •  white card stock or "paint and marker paper"
This morning we stopped at Target to pick up our supplies. We were successful, except for the Borax- which my kids now refer to as "Lorax." I found the shelf tag, but they were out. Afterward we went to Kmart and they were also out. We'll try Wegmans tomorrow and save the homemade slime for then.

Our first messy adventure was Cars in the Snow/Car Wash.
We grabbed a bunch of cars and filled two plastic trays with shaving cream. The boys had fun pushing the cars through "the snow"and just getting messy, in general.
Next it was time for the Car Wash! I filled up our water table and the boys cleaned the cars. Yes, I tricked them into cleaning up their mess and they had fun doing it.
Once the cars had all gone through the car wash, the boys were eager to start the next project. It started to rain, so we moved our project inside. Next up: Marbled Paper. 
We used the trays of "snow" from the cars and just refilled them. Then the boys took food coloring and dropped dots of color all over.
They used plastic spoons to swirl the colors and make patterns. When they were done swirling, I helped them place a piece of heavy white paper on top. The boys tapped it down and then I lifted it off and set it aside. You can actually get quite a few prints from each tray.
After the prints have been sitting for a minute or two, use the straight edge of the plastic knife (or a wooden craft stick, or anything similar you have handy) to scrape the shaving cream off. I scraped into a plastic bin, which I later cleaned; you could also scrape right into the sink. With all the foam gone, you're left with really beautiful marbled paper!
What to do with all that gorgeous paper? You could hang it up as is, frame a few for a cool art installment, use them as wrapping paper, make an awesome paper airplane, or even make some cards. If you have trouble getting the kids to make a birthday or thank you card when you actually need one, try stockpiling some when the opportunity arises (as in: right now). You'll need:

  • your new marbled paper
  • construction paper or card stock
  • paper trimmer or scissors
  • tape runner or glue stick

Simply cut the construction paper in half and then fold each half, so now the faces are one-quarter of the original size of the paper. Measure your card, then cut the marbled paper 1/4" shorter than each measurement. For example, the card measures 4.5"x6", so we cut the marbled paper to be 4.25"x5.75". I did the measuring and my five-year-old cut the paper with the paper trimmer. Then use a tape runner or glue stick to adhere the marbled paper to the solid paper. Voila! Your card is ready, or you can have the kids add stickers, craft feathers, buttons, pom poms, words cut from magazines, et cetera, to personalize the card.
If you're worried about clean up, don't be. I kept some paper towels and baby wipes handy, and as I mentioned, we used a plastic tablecloth to cover our work area. Shaving cream wipes and/or rinses so easily, that it was not a problem anywhere. I was sure the food coloring had stained all of our fingers, but one hand-washing left the kids with very light, faded colors. After doing the dishes once, all of the color is gone from my fingers. The containers all rinsed clean, and I wiped the tablecloth with a damp sponge. Done and done.

Enjoy these fun and messy ideas with your kids! Or grandkids. Or nieces and nephews. Stay tuned for our continuation of Messy Backyard Fun as we embark on adventures with Goop, Fluffy Dough, Slime, and Volcanoes! As always, thanks for reading.


  1. You are the best mom! I am literally going to engrain this idea into my head for my future haha The boys look adorable!

    1. Thanks so much Josephina. The kids love anything messy, and we needed to shake things up a bit. :)


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