The Messy Book

How difficult is to tidy up with your kids?

One of the questions that always come during my sessions from the parents is:  “How do we ensure that children tidy up properly at the end of each session?”.

Let’s be honest: even for us, as adults, the “tidy up time” is never a fun activity, so how can we pretend that it would be nice for our students and the little ones? Free-flow play brings numerous benefits for children – greater independence and the opportunity to work and progress at their own pace, but, if you’re letting children get toys out and sample activities as they please, you quickly find your setting becomes extremely cluttered. Children do need reminding that things need to be put away carefully once played with.

I am quite sute that we all would love to be like Mary Poppins sometimes – and if you don’t know or you don’t remember what am I talking about, let’s have a look at the video together.

We can use songs, we need to be creative and fun even when it comes to tidy up, that’s why I have a book for you that it’s perfect for this activity!

I’ve made a mess,” says the cat, not without a hint of pride. The dog is not so sure: “Maybe you should clean it up.” Powell-Tuck’s dog has an innate sense of tidiness, and her cat would be hard-pressed to think of something more boring than cleaning up. Cat has made a mess and she won’t tidy it up – no matter how many times Dog asks her. Can Dog convince Cat, a giraffe and two penguins to clean up this very messy book?

This is a great book to use as a springboard to discuss the importance of cleaning and tidiness because:

  • The cat doesn’t want to tidy up, but the dog finds a funny way to do it;
  • They both work together, as a team – like the kids can do with their siblings and their friends;
  • There are other animals who want to play but there is too much mess to be able to do that;
  • They all are a bit hard on cat, but they know how to do it.

Actually, they do something that you can do as well: make a race out of tidying up.  Assign different areas or groups of toys or games to put away to different children. If you only have one child, then the race is against you! Let’s see who is the quickest one!

What I like of this book is that it shows the consequences of shoving your mess off on someone else; and it shows everyone working together to fix the mess. Young readers will probably relate to Cat’s disinterest in cleaning up, but they will also be able to see that a mess doesn’t just go away on its own.

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