I say baby lotion, but any slidey stuff that’s not likely to cause skin irritation/third degree burns will do, although I’d steer away from getting the KY jelly out because that just feels a bit wrong.
BABY LOTION MESS MAKING:
You will need:
Aforementioned slidey liquid/cream stuff, preferably baby lotion because it’s unlikely to upset the skin. Not baby oil, or you’ll end up in A&E with that grumpy nurse tutting at you again.
Plastic sheeting. Can’t remember where ours came from but you can buy a ‘mess mat’ from ELC for not too many pennies.
Likelihood of child taking it upon themselves to ‘moisturise’ the soft furnishings: A certainty. This isn’t too damaging though, if you compare it to the time that Rory decided to try to exfoliate the TV.
Potential for small child to fall over, smack head on floor or get otherwise maimed: High if you let them walk about on the lotiony mat, low if you don’t. In all seriousness, take care with this one as the mat gets really slippery.
Amount of time it wastes in the never ending day:
This engaged him for about half an hour before he started demanding “Spiderman on now please”.
Spread out your plastic mat in an area of your house that you’re not too keen on, say, next to that sofa that you’ve never been over fond of, or in range of the wallpaper that you keep nagging your partner to strip off the walls.
Squeeze on some baby lotion in a few big blobs. The amount that you use will be proportionate to how much you detest that sofa/wallpaper.
Rub some of the blobs around the mat and leave some others for your child to spread about.
Put child next to the mat, preferably semi naked unless you really like doing laundry.
This is the brilliant bit: Allow them to ‘explore’. They might just like feeling the texture and sliding their hands around. They might want to draw or write in the lotion with their fingers or other objects. They might want to make roads for their cars in it, or slide their animals along it or make handprints or…well, whatever. If they're really bastard annoying like my son, they'll probably lick it and retch a bit. This is an important life lesson, don't panic.
I have decided that this is an excellent activity. It wasted a respectable amount of time, I didn’t have to hose Rory down afterwards as the lotion just rubbed into his skin, he enjoyed it and my whole house smells of baby lotion. Winner.