Do you feel uncomfortable about the idea of messy play? Does it seem that the price is too high with the cleaning up afterward? And what does it mean anyway? Why making a mess on purpose?
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – FRED ROGERS
Children and even adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses which are
- body movement /balance
- body awareness
WHAT IS MESSY PLAY?
Messy play, or sensory play, activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate, and explore.
Mess play is beneficial because it builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
It encourages language skills, practices concentration, supports cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, and social interaction. It aids in developing and enhancing memory. It is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child. It helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry).
IDEAS FOR MESSY PLAY
Messy Play doesn’t need to be super fancy and can be incorporated into daily life:
- Take it outside
- Nature is a great playground for messy play. Let your kids play in the dirt or collect items like rocks, sticks, acorns, leaves, whatever you can find
- Play ball outside
- Play with water outside and go puddle jumping after the rain
- Get a water spray bottle
- Use dry food like pasta, rice, beans for scooping, and pouring
- Make Your Own Dough
- Cook or bake together
- Make Bath time fun with some cups and jugs
- Get kinetic sand for inside
- Draw with chalk outside
- Give them a big cardboard box with some crayons
- Garden together
If you are concern about the mess inside, control the amount and the area. Get an old shower curtain or waterproof tablecloth and let the messy play happen on it.
When you look at the benefits you can see that it doesn’t have to involve an enormous mess – what you are looking for is an open-ended play that involves their body, their senses.
How do you feel about messy play? Does it bring fear or joy to your heart?