Last winter I was trying to help beat the winter boredom blues. I had a one year old who put EVERYTHING in her mouth. Playdough, painting, moon sand and any crafts were out. We were seriously BORED. I was going through my food storage and noticed I had a TON (well, really only about 15) canisters of oatmeal and they all tasted old-ish. I grabbed 4 canisters and the kiddie pool and dumped.
My kids played for over an hour. I figured clean up would be horrendous. It WASN'T! I took their clothes off right there in the kitchen, poured the oatmeal from the pool back into the canisters and then swept up the rest and threw it away. It took about 3 minutes to clean up. It was worth 1 hour of giggles & smiles.
Attention Germ-a-phobe Moms: I too am a germ-a-phobe but I realized I had a 1 year old who put EVERYTHING in her mouth (I've found her eating out of the trash can and licking up things off the floor!). I figured this was a heck of a lot better than many of the things she's put in that cute little mouth of hers. She ate oatmeal to her hearts content for about 10 minutes and then played the rest of the time. I actually re-used this oatmeal about 4 times for the same thing. They didn't really eat any the next times--just had tons of fun. Our pool got broken this last summer so we haven't done it since :( . I will be purchasing another pool this summer solely for this purpose: