By Christa Protano
I have to be honest: I don’t like messes. And as a mom, it’s so hard for me to let my OCD go, especially when I find my five-year-old daughter elbow-deep in dirt most days. In addition to playing in mud, she loves to paint and get messy. Since she’s my second child, I’m a little more lax than I was with my older son, but I still have my limits. That’s why I love these four books that help her grow as an artist without all the clean up that usually follows.
If you prefer to keep your children entertained with old-fashioned paper and pencil when dining out, then you’ll want to stash the So Sweet Pencil Pouch in your purse. A built-in case keeps stickers and markers contained, while llamacorns, purrmaids and narwhals make for magical coloring and entertainment.
Color Me Mine
Toddlers can practice staying within the lines with Animal Planet: Wild Baby Animals Coloring Book, where irresistible fox pups, baby elephants, joeys, and hippo calfs take center stage. Animal facts, word searches, puzzles and mazes keep little ones from getting bored and parents from cleaning up no more than a box of crayons.
Just Add Water
OK, so this one may get a little messy. But it’s nothing moms can’t handle, thanks to washable water colors. Watercolor World includes a cheat sheet to blending different colors and using various techniques, along with whimsical creatures the likes of roller-skating llamas and dancing cacti. I love that the palette and brush have their own little compartment attached to the spiral-bound book, so it’s easy to put everything away in one place.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
For the little ones who are obsessed with all things on wheels, Color Me Creative: On the Go! lets them tap into their passion as they begin to hone their creative skills. This kit is equipped with 64 easy-to-tear-out pages of helicopters, tractors, cars and more. But the best part? The eight included markers are washable — don’t worry, you can thank us later.