Do you ever have a hard time allowing your charges to make a mess in your Nanny Family’s home? It can be especially hard in the city, with less space and no backyards. Well I have a solution for you… Get a group of moms and nannies together and meet at the park with shared materials. When you’re in the grass of a public park, playtime can get as messy as you want and it’s no problem! It turns out that many of the messiest activities are sensory oriented, and those are actually some of the most important kinds to incorporate into children’s lives.
I decided to start a weekly get together of nannies, moms, and kids. I thought that for our first week, it would be fun to try some “Art in the Park.” I posted my suggestion of finger painting in the park online, for moms and nannies to see and hopefully join us with their children. I asked everyone who planned to come to “Art in the Park” to bring materials to share, like different colored finger paints and papers. Five children attended Art in the Park with their moms and nannies; a great initial turnout! I prepared for the finger painting session by laying five large pieces of paper out, keeping their edges touching in order to encourage social interaction by having the children near one another. I then squeezed the different paint colors that everyone brought all over the sheets of paper.
At first, the children were hesitant to try finger painting; unsure of what to do, they just stared at the foreign colored goop in front of them. So, I started doing some finger painting myself. They watched as I dabbed my fingers in the paint and ran them across the paper. By the end of our “Art in the Park” session, the children had paint not only on their hands, but all over their feet and clothes too. This is how finger painting should be, shouldn’t it!? Even the nannies and moms got messy, as they acted as playmates, showed the children how to make hand prints, and suggested adding a 3-D effect with grass. The children weren’t sure what to think of the texture of the paints, but they still appeared to enjoy the sensory experience. Like any activity, it takes longer for the adults to set up and clean up than the young children are actually engaged in it. Having other adults to help clean up was a nice change, for once. Stay posted for more activities and check out more meet-ups at the park if you would like to join!
Kelsey Plimpton is currently a nanny in Boston and has been nannying for five years. She started as a part-time nanny while earning her associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelsey has worked with ages 2 months to 15 years in both nannying and babysitting positions, since the age of 13. While working with children she follows their interests to help create activities targeting developmental goals. She blogs with SitterCycle.com and is the Early Childhood Coordinator.