06/12/2013 06:16 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Best Non-Messy Toys

Much as I enjoy reading about craft stuff you can do with your kids, I don't think I'm the only parent who cringes a little inside when les juniors announce that they want to get the paints out.

Obviously I want to encourage their creativity and blah blah blah...but, oh my goodness, does it have to be so messy? I am still finding glitter from a particularly vigorous session of Christmas card making - and it's July! At this rate it'd be easier to let the stuff stay there till next festive season.

So for like-minded individuals, I'd like to show you here some of the best toys your children can play with that won't involve a session with the hoover and wetwipes when they've finished:

  • Playmobil Take Along toys
    My son loves his Take Along Castle, which he folds up like a little briefcase and carries around the house. I know Playmobil has a reputation for containing lots of tiny bits, but with this toy, putting the little bits away is an integral part of play. Newest in the range is the Pirate Island, shown on the right. See the handle on the top? That is what your little shipmate is going to use to cart it off out of your sight.
  • Spottiswoode Trading
    This company makes lovely toys in natural materials, many of which come with integrated cases like this award-winning music box. But the thing they do that will really make your life simpler, is the toy bag shown below. You fold it out flat like a rug and spread out toys to your heart's content. Then tidy up time takes a matter of seconds, as you pull the cord to bring the bag together, scooping up all those easily lost pieces at once. Marvellous. More info on this product at this link.

Non-Messy Craft Stuff
Manufacturers have got wise to killjoy parents like me and are increasingly aiming to take the mess out of messy play. How about:

  • Chalks
    You can usually pick up a pack of playground chalks quite easily in your local pound shop. Send your children outside to decorate the pavement, and the next time it rains, nature will do your clearing up for you
  • Self-contained paints
    I do like these new PaintBalls from Pritt. They're self-contained paints in a roll-on dispenser, which means that children can create pictures without slopping paint or water around the place. They're also good for younger children who may not yet have enough fine motor skills to control a brush. The pack also contains a free apron, so your child can paint and stay pristine. Just don't get them confused with your roll-on deodorant, unless you like having bright green armpits.
  • Doodle Books
    These are fun books where the picture is partly completed, but your child has to use their imagination to finish the rest off. The Holiday Doodle Book 2 has just been released and is just right for boys or girls with some scribbling time on their hands.
  • All in one art sets
    You are probably familiar with these as they're widely available - art sets that pack away into their own self-contained cases, so they make great travel toys. Check out New World Toys for the latest style art cases, from Transformers to Crazy Bones.

What's your favourite non-messy toy? Leave a comment below