Yesterday we experienced the joy of Oobleck. I spent the morning cleaning the kitchen while the kids played so it would be ready for the fun. As I finished, the kids came calling for something to do with me. Perfect timing!
We watched this video together that we found on Pinterest, then got to work. Elli poured the cornstarch (2 cups), I poured the water (1-1 1/2 cups), and Sammi stirred.
Then the fun began.
Scott was such a charmer. He loved handing it to me and watching it slip through his fingers and then mine to make designs all over his legs. Then he’s eat it off his hands. I loved that this was something I didn’t have to worry about him eating, unlike the play dough since I still haven’t made a gluten-free version yet.
Then mama made the unwise decision to make an important phone call while the kids were so engaged. The call took me out of the room in search of my computer. I ended the call to very loud arguing between Sammi and Elli. I went upstairs to see what was going on and found at least a gallon of water covering the table mixed with the remaining oobleck and a puddle of smoothie that Scott had spilled. Then there was at least another gallon of water on the floor tinted with cornstarch.
The mess wasn’t the bad part. It was the constant “She did it. I didn’t do anything!” from the oldest. I gave them towels and had them soak up the puddles of water. Then I sent the girls to their rooms for some peace to calm down and give me a chance to think about how to tackle the mess.
So it’s rare that I get the whole kitchen clean all at the same time. It’s never happened that I’ve done that twice on the same day. But it had to be done. We couldn’t live with cornstarch caking everything from the sink and mat to the table and chairs. Even I wasn’t going to cross that line! So after time out we cleaned together.
Since we were all calmed down, the cleaning was actually quite fun. We each had a washcloth and we wiped up all the cornstarch and water we could find. We wiped down the chairs and even the chair legs! I don’t think that’s happened since they were repainted last year. Every one was cheerful and helpful. It was a good end to a good activity.
It reminded me of a sign I saw at the children’s museum in Utah. It reads: Clean up is part of play. For someone who doesn’t like to clean, this message is my new mantra when it comes to messes. Just like I had to learn to schedule in diaper changes and packing snacks into the diaper bag so we could get places on time, I am working on making clean up a part of our playtime instead of something I grumpily force the kids to do after we are too tired to do anything well. I admire those who manage clean up so much better than I do!
What do you do to make clean up manageable for your family?
This is so funny because I just posted about ooblek on my blog – although I didn’t know that’s what it’s called.
As far as cleaning, I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to be a little messy. I’m a neat freak and letting go of that has been one of my most difficult lessons as a mom. I do make the kids clean up before naps and before bedtime, so it never gets too bad and they are learning to clean up after themselves. But sometimes it feels like such a battle! I can’t feel at peace if our house is messy (I’ve been this way since my own childhood), so I have to keep up with it or lose my mind.