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Mess-Free Marvelous Sundays 

Here are some activities kids love — and their mothers do, too

We always have lots of playdates on Sundays. Sometimes it’s pure self-entertainment, which is always a win-win, but sometimes I become the entertainment provider, and then the goal becomes to keep them happy, and ultimately, as mess-free as possible. (Or at least, a mess that can be easily cleaned with a broom!) Here are some activities kids love — and their mothers do, too.


Great Plates

Using paper plates, recreate fun, everyday circular items by layering on pieces of construction paper to build something unique.

My kids and I made a pizza by first coloring a paper plate red. Then we added my toppings of choice: cheese, olives, peppers, and arugula. Chances are, each kid will build a pizza they would want to eat!

In addition to the pizza, we also made pies. We cut out apples and plums, and covered the pie by making real lattice. I don’t know when I’ll make a lattice topped pie in real life, but now I have a nine-year-old expert lattice-maker!


You’ll need:

Nine-inch paper plates

Construction paper


Glue stick


Depending on your child’s age, you may choose to cut out the toppings in advance and let them build on top of the plate. If they can cut small shapes, they’ll likely also enjoy building up their plate with different interesting toppings and fillings!

Science Made Simple

Rising Water

I was shocked at how visibly this worked! Heads up: A little fire caution is needed here.


You’ll need:

Glass/ceramic plate


Food coloring, optional

Birthday or Chanukah candle

Play dough

Drinking glass or mason jar

Lighter or match


Secure the candle to the middle of a glass plate using a small amount of play dough. Pour water ¼- ½” high onto the plate. Light the candle, and quickly cover it with the drinking glass or mason jar. As the flame extinguishes, you’ll see the water rise into the drinking glass or mason jar!

Full of Hot Air

My kids love anything to do with balloons. Although this only actually takes a minute, it can go on for a while!


You’ll need:

Water bottle (I used an empty 16-oz bottle)


Glass, or similar receptacle


Food coloring (optional)



Fill the water bottle halfway with water. Make a small hole above the water line (I used a safety pin for this and used the straw to enlarge the hole). Blow up a balloon and attach it to the top of the water bottle. As you release small amounts of air from the balloon, water will pour into the cup.

Stick Stars

The bigger kids loved this, and it seriously has no mess to clean up!


You’ll need:

Plate (any material other than paper)


Medicine dropper (optional)


Break toothpicks in half, leaving them slightly connected. Arrange toothpicks to make an asterisk-looking design. If you keep the toothpicks as close together as possible, you’ll see the best results. Slowly add small amounts of water to your asterisk using a medicine dropper. You will see the toothpicks expand to become a star!


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 764)

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