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dress for a mess party

What better way to end the chaos of summer than a messy party? To celebrate Robert and his friends heading to preschool, I set up a Dress for a Mess Party. A friend of mine set up a party like this for middle and high schoolers and I knew I had to do one of my own. Clean up was a breeze with all® free clear detergent. Click here to learn more and enter for a chance to win a free year of all® free clear!

wreath for the messy party

Preschoolers are the best kids to do this with because they are unceasingly messy. Plus there are so many fun messy preschooler activities.  By now, you probably know that I love all the messy stuff like play dough, painting and sensory activities. I do this kind of stuff with my kids all the time and then curse myself afterwards for naively thinking they wouldn’t make a mess.

I had so much fun at this party that I decided to put together a tutorial so you can do this too .

painting session at the messy party

How to put together a dress for a mess party

Step 1: don’t clean

To prep for this party, I did absolutely no cleaning. I have to say that not cleaning before entertaining is an exhilarating feeling. I kept feeling like I was breaking a hostess rule!

Step 2: gather supplies

Another way I made prep for this party simple was to use up all the odds and ends from my arts and crafts supply. This saved me a lot of money! I always love throwing a party on a budget. Preschoolers are great party guests because they don’t judge your party decor, spread, or theme. They go with the flow.

Messy party instagram

I like to think the kids had a blast doing all sorts of messy things. While I love to do this kind of stuff with my kids, I almost never do stuff like this in large groups because masses of kids with paint seems like a bad idea, right? Somehow we managed to contain the messes. I’m still amazed that paint didn’t end up all over the walls.

Step 3: set up stations

I set up the party with different stations. We had an arts and crafts station,

painting station at the messy party

a chalk station,

Chalk table for the messy party

a boba pearl sensory station,

Brielle playing with boba pearls

a moon sand station,

Moon sand station

and a play dough station.

Play dough station at messy party

All of the stations were a hit, but the moon sand station almost gave me a heart attack. It’s too messy even for me. You make it by combining 1/2 cup of oil with 4 cups of flour. Since we had it outside it ended up mixing with water and becoming a huge slippery mess. I had to throw it out shortly after the party started!

The play dough was a hit though! I couldn’t believe how much the kids loved it. Here’s my tried and true recipe for making play dough.

Play dough recipe

Play dough recipe


  • 2 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 3 Tbsp. oil (I prefer coconut)
  • 1 1/2 C. water
  • food coloring


  1. Combine all ingredients except for the water in a bowl. Boil the water (add food coloring if you want it colored). Add the boiling water to the other ingredients and mix with your hands. It will be sticky! If it's too sticky ass more cream of tartar until it is the consistency you desire. Humidity has a lot to do with how much cream of tartar and flour you need.
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Step 4: set up an messy spread of food

You can’t have a messy party without messy food right? That’s why I served the ultimate messy food spread: watermelon, strawberry popsicles, and chocolate pudding.

Spread for messy party

The kids loved making a mess with the food. Please don’t judge me when I tell you that I still have a huge mess in my backyard from all the food. We’ve got little popsicle juice spots all over the pavers in the backyard!

Making a mess at the messy party

Step 5: clean up

While cleaning the mess in the backyard has proven to be a challenge, cleaning the clothes, blankets and towels used for the party was a piece of cake with all® free clear detergent and all® free clear Mighty Pacs®. I love this brand so much that I even gave some all® free clear Mighty Pacs out as party favors!

All free and clear to stay clean after messy party

Check out this huge pile of laundry I had to clean once the party was over. We certainly made our way through a lot of towels during clean up!

Cleaning laundry with All Free and Clear

I truly love all® free clear detergent. My kiddos and I have very sensitive skin and we have to have a detergent that I can trust. All® free clear is the #1 detergent recommended by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin. With all® free clear detergent I never worry that the clothes on my family’s skin is going to cause any sort of irritation. Always make sure to follow the directions on the packaging!

I buy mine at Target in the detergent aisle.

all free clear in store

I’m on a mission to make sure everyone knows how great all® free clear detergent is for sensitive skin. You can join me on the mission and enter to win a FREE year of all free clear! Enter here.