What is messy play?
Messy play comes naturally to children. It’s about playing with different materials and textures and exploring different sensory experiences. Mud, sand, foam, paint, water – these are some of the foundations for messy play! Babies and toddlers alike enjoy the thrill of making a mess and discovering exciting new senses.
Why is it important?
Messy play is a highly sensory experience, helping to develop your baby's brain. When they play with and explore different textures, it exposes their brain to a wide variety of sensations and stimuli.
What are some of the benefits of messy play?
It helps nurtures curiosity, imagination, and exploration, encouraging them to use their imagination in an exploratory way. It stimulates problem-solving and concentration skills. Through messy play, children begin to develop the ability to solve problems and understand basic cause-and-effect concepts, offering a strong foundation for future science learnings.
Using words such as “gooey” and “slimy” helps to encourage communication and language development. Messy play can help your child begin to relate their surroundings with their burgeoning vocabulary. It develops hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and fine-motor skills – valuable skills for little learners beginning to walk or learning to grasp objects!
As babies, their developing brains are busy bridging new nerve connections. Messy play stimulates cognitive development as children experiment with hands-on, self-directed messy play. And, just as importantly, messy play is an inclusive and accessible activity for all children! There’s no wrong way to engage in sensory-rich messy play, making it a practical (and fun!) approach to learning for all children.
Through playing with others, messy play allows children to practice their vocabulary with others, learn how to share resources, and enjoy fun with others. Messy play is an incredibly social activity, best enjoyed with siblings, at a playgroup, or in a childcare setting.
From squishing jelly to splashing water, there are so many valuable benefits to messy play! In short, messy play offers so many rich learning experiences for your little one and would be a brilliant addition to your weekly activities and quality time together.
What are some fun, easy messy play activities?
Messy play doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Water play, mud play, jelly, slime, foam, goo, and play dough are all cost-effective and simple ways to stimulate your child’s senses! Messy play can even include digging in a sandpit, splashing in water sprinklers, squishing shaving foam and paint, finger-painting, or playing with frothy washing-up liquid bubbles. There are endless ways to engage the senses each and every day.
Article supplied by Lifelong Learning Centres