Teachers, party-givers and group leaders of children from toddlers through high school can use messy activities as icebreakers or breaks from the games kids play all the time. Teachers should be sure the activity is not a frightening one for younger kids. For older kids, however, "the messier the better" is a good rule of thumb. Be sure to warn attendees to "dress for a mess" and to bring a change of clothing.
Use dark colored plastic bags or a large brown grocery bag to make pinatas. Put a different mystery substance inside each bag and hang the bags from a sturdy tree branch or in an indoor area. Have several different bags ready, each containing a mystery substance and some wrapped treats or small gift items. Mystery substance filling ideas include whipped topping, shaving cream, confetti, popped popcorn or other wet or dry items that partially fill the bag and will not harm children when falling from a torn bag.
Blindfold one child and give her a tennis racket to hit the bag. Turn her around to make her somewhat disoriented, then have her swing at the bag. Each child can have more than one swing, if desired. When the bag tears, all the children scramble to retrieve prizes. Then, move to another area and repeat the game with another pinata.
Provide cooked spaghetti for a game of tag. One child begins the game with a bag of spaghetti in his hands. He tags others by making a spaghetti piece stick to them. Those who are tagged will remove the spaghetti from their body and tag someone else with it. When everyone has been tagged, play the game again.
Baby Diaper Relays
Provide baby diapers, wipes, spoons and chocolate pudding. Also, each group of six or eight kids will need a gourd or squash "baby" to diaper. Each team will spread out along one side of a long table. The first member of each team should spoon pudding into a diaper and fasten the diaper on the baby. The next person in line will remove dirty diaper, clean baby, and apply a fresh diaper. The team finishing first will win, but continue the relay until all the teams are finished. The last person on each team should have a clean, diapered "baby".
Have kids hold a spoon with their mouths to assemble their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on bread or crackers. The messy aspect of this racing game is that the kids cannot use their hands.
Gelatin Treasure Hunt
Have small groups of kids dig through set gelatin to find small toys or other moisture-resistant prizes. The color of gelatin or the prizes can correspond to a lesson or party theme.
Bird Seed Relay
Have relay teams race to fill a small container with bird seed, using a spoon to carry the seeds. Continue the game until one team's container is filled.
Paint a Fence
Teams of kids can use large paint brushes and water to see which team can cover a large cardboard "fence" with the water "paint" the fastest.
- Photo Credit Couple competing in a mud wrestling contest at a local fair image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com two tennis rackets isolated on the white image by Elnur from Fotolia.com spaghetti image by bofotolux from Fotolia.com
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