Initially, I was nervous about sending Pickle to Nursery. I was worried he’d be confused by it all. I was worried they wouldn’t care for him in the same way I would. And I was worried it wouldn’t be worth the money. But I needn’t have worried – Pickle absolutely loves it there. In fact, most nights he doesn’t want to come home. He gets to play all day long with his friends, he loves eating with them all at the little table and they spend lots of time outside – which is always his favourite way to spend time. And they also do lots of crafts.

Pickle doing the actions to Wind the Bobbin Up

Crafting with Toddlers

Pickle loves it: he paints, he glues, he sticks, he draws, he bakes, he decorates… they make super cute cards that have handprints or footprints on and it means I have those lovely little toes imprinted forever without having to contend with the mess myself. I know these are the things I should be doing more with him. But we all know what it’s like, don’t we? The thought of the post-activity clean up operation is enough to make you think twice! The risk of adding further to the stains on the carpet is too high. What I initially think is going to be a lovely, cute little bonding activity just turns out to be a right stress fest.

Teletubby themed snacks at our picnic playdate

It all means that when I was contacted by Doddlebags to try out their products, I jumped at the chance. They make reusable pouches that can be used for a variety of things from weaning purees to yoghurt (like above), from washing up liquid for your camping trip to salad dressing for your lunch at work. Me? I wanted to use them for painting, and so received a DoddleArt box which gave us all the supplies we needed to have many fun filled afternoons of creative fun.

The DoddleArt box from DoddleBags

What is included in the DoddleArt box

The DoddleArt box contains:

  • 1 x reusable cardboard satchel
  • 1 x DoddleBrush pack (4 x 100 ml DoddleBags, 4 anti-choke caps, 4 colourful stickers and 4 screw-on brushes)
  • 4 x colour powder paints (white, yellow, red, blue)
  • 1 x DoddleSticker pack (10 DoddleStickers)
  • 1 x kid’s apron
  • 1 x white canvas

The full DoddleArt box with paints, brushes, canvas, stickers and apron

Pickle having a look at the DoddleArt box contents

Getting Started

I popped down our Messy Me mat (which I’m still absolutely loving, by the way), and set about trying to mix up the paint. I found it quite difficult to know how much paint powder and water to mix together – there was a lot of trial and error going on, particularly as I kept making the paint far too runny. Which probably says more about my instincts to use things sparingly to make them last longer… but in hindsight, I’d recommend using the powder liberally.

The tinest amount of yellow powder paint in a Doddlebag

The DoddleArt box comes with four paint colours (red, blue, yellow and white), but obviously you can mix these up to make pretty much any colour you like! I went for a yellow, red, orange and purple.

Mixing paint - red and blue powder to make purple in a Doddlebag

How do they work?

The bags work by having a sealable zip at the top (so you can open the full pouch for easy pouring or spooning in), and a spout on the side. For food substances, there’s a spoon attachment you can screw on to the spout, but for painting? You can use the brush attachment.

Pickle using the brush attachment on his Doddlebag to do some painting with yellow

Pickle didn’t waste any time getting stuck in – he knew what to do and immediately starting painting. In the first instance, I definitely made the paint too runny, and as I’d placed his paper on a slanting surface, the very liquidy paint just ran down the page and made a little puddle on our Messy Me mat – thank goodness we’ve got it! What’s good about the pouches is that once I knew the paint needed to be thicker, it was really easy to open up the seal and tip some more paint powder in. Just remember to unscrew the brush first and replace with the normal cap otherwise you could end up with paint everywhere!

Really easy painting with the DoddleArt box wearing his apron

Which paint should I choose Mommy? Red or blue?

Getting a little bit messy with DoddleArt box supplies from Doddlebags

Once I’d let him test all the colours out, I let him go to town on the canvas. I love the idea of letting your children paint on canvas – the sheets of paper just end up going scrappy and horrible in the end, don’t they? But a canvas is a great way to keep their artwork pristine and beautiful.

Working on his canvas painting - Pickle's an artist!

Finished canvas painting with Doddlebags DoddleArt box and brushes

As you can see here, by the end, I actually just unscrewed the brushes and let him use those. They were already really saturated with paint, so he didn’t need anymore and it meant my runnier paint didn’t end up getting sploshed everywhere.

Was it really mess free?

In all honesty, it wasn’t as mess free as I had envisioned – but it was definitely easier than having pots of water and paint lying around ready for spillages and knocks. And Pickle had a whale of a time. I’ve popped his little canvas on our mantel piece in the lounge, and I’m so proud of his little creation.

If you’re interesting in knowing more about Doddlebags, and their DoddleArt box in particular, you can find more about them at the Doddlebags website. The DoddleArt box costs £29.99, with all the pouches and brushes being reusable. I’ve also just spotted there’s a new product available: a DoddleNozzle set for baking! SUCH a good idea.

Disclaimer: we were sent the DoddleArt box from DoddleBags in order to do this review. We weren’t paid for our time, and all opinions, views and content ideas remain my own.