It is so close to one of the best times of the year here in Missouri. Spring is in the air and that means messy play season is approaching.
If you’ve seen my house you would think it was messy season all year round. Our “dining” room table is always covered in a colorful layer of dried paint, usually glitter stuck in the cracks, and piles of different baskets full of supplies. We love indoor messes, but we wait all year for outdoor messy play. Getting outside to get messy is one of the best forms of play for kids!
Exploring the Lee’s Summit area has led me to some great outdoor messy play spots. From water, to chalk, mud, and more! Exploring this gorgeous area, and letting the kids get messy is one of the best reasons to raise your family here.
Before we dive into this mess I’d like to introduce the adventure kit! Be prepared for any adventure this season and create your own adventure kit.
We like to keep some essentials in the car so we are always ready to go, and able to say yes to impromptu messy play.
Some items in our kit include:
Large sheet or blanket for picnics
Small supply of paper plates and such
Bug net, jars, magnifying glass, binoculars
Couple of beach towels
Change of clothes per person
Basic first aid
Non perishable snacks
The messy tour will be divided into our favorite types of messes.
Planned trips to the pool and splash pad are nice, but a spontaneous drench is always a blast.
The LS City Hall Fountains will be turned back on soon! My kids beg to stop by every time we drive by, even in the winter! I love when it’s the perfect moment and I can say yes and let them run freely up the steps and into the secluded courtyard. We always end up drenched, and happy. We prefer this spot because it’s easier to let the kids freely explore the courtyard versus a big splash pad. Totally worth a pile of wet cloths and soaked car seats.
We also love a good rainy day puddle jump through Downtown Lee’s Summit. Not only is it an awesome photo shoot, but you get nice and messy while burning off all that energy. Giggling, stomping, jumping in all the puddles. Who minds this mess, the joy of the jump is worth making this childhood memory.
A giant box of the good chalk is about $6. Finding the perfect blank canvas of open sidewalks and covering them all is worth a new box every time. Murals, games, random words of kindness, and more. By the time your masterpieces are created you are covered in chalk. Hands, booties, and feet! Chalk dust everywhere. This is one of the easier messes to clean up too. Keep some wipes handy and brush off your clothes! Our go to chalk spot is around the fountain at the Choo Choo Park in LS. The water feature adds an extra element of creating chalk paint as well! Making your colors extra vibrant, and your kiddos even more colorful! Wet hands patting their drawings, tiny wet rainbow foot prints. Letting their messy art happy here is such a perfect afternoon. (Don’t forget Whistle Stop and Main Slice are right across the street too!)
Take your art vertical and venture over to Pleasant Lea Park and create a huge scene in their massive cement racquetball courts. We love drawing tall buildings and massive creatures here. Tracing each other into the funny scenes. Another quiet and fun place to play and get into a chalk mess.
SAND! This usually is more of a hate relationship than love. But sometimes you need to take your shoes off and put your feet in the sand. Inside another one of our great parks is an open sand area with a big slide! At the Pirate ship Park is where we do our sand play. Its a smaller, quirt park (no restrooms, so add that to the adventure!). Its seclusion is one if its best features. Kiddos get to dig, push, pile, and slide into the sand while you lay on a blanket under the beautiful shade trees. To add to this mess make sure you swing by Dairy Queen on your way and grab some ice cream! Sandy shoes, and ice cream covered faces equal a great time.
DIRT! Digging for worms, looking at moss, building with sticks, and stacking rocks. There are so many great trails in the area to explore and get messy. Our most kid friendly, basic hike is at James A Reed. The Bodarc Lake Trail meanders you through this magic place. Take your time, let your kiddos lead, let them explore. The messier the better. So many things to climb over and onto. Giant trees to study. Snails waiting to be discovered. Wear some play clothes, pack some snacks and enjoy this mess. Early spring, right after a good rain when everything is blooming is our favorite time to go. Try it barefoot!
MUD! Now this may be the most messy of all the suggestions.
Tadpole catching at Bodarc Lake. Located within James A Reed, this small lake offers the perfect spot to look for tadpoles! You will be covered mud. Amazing mud! Those who don’t want to get covered can easily watch from the edge and still have fun. The flat area around the lake is great for exploring clear of the mud. This is when bringing towels and an extra set of clothes is needed! This open space is such a hidden gem. We are often the only ones there. Soaking up all the sun, mud, and fresh air. Gorgeous views, and perfect for picnicking. Give the mud a chance!
Messy play just comes easy to some people. Other people its the worst idea ever.
Keep an adventure pack ready, remember that messes clean up, and going with the mess is totally worth it. I hope you embrace it this spring and summer and explore these amazing areas.