So what is messy play?
Years of research, plus a fair amount of common sense, has taught us that all children can learn through play, but messy play is a really good fun way for children to explore the world around them.
Many of us grew up with the sound of “don’t make a mess” ringing in our ears – so try to forget that – otherwise you may well undervalue the real benefits that messy play offers children.
“Messy play” offers babies and children a wide range of sensory experiences and adds a great deal to the cognitive and creative development of children as well as being great fun.
Without someone dictating exactly what something should look like, this play leaves the child with a great sense of freedom to explore all sorts of possibilities and expand their natural curiosity.
Good news for parents and carers
For some parents the thought of messy play elicits a groan at the thought of all the clearing up and laundry that follows – if this is performed at home.
However – there is good news – there are a growing number of specialist messy play classes and clubs and messy play projects out there where it is all managed by professionals AND they do all the clearing up, plus providing all the materials and aprons – so stop the panic and concentrate on what messy play actually looks like!
Messy Play Materials
Messy play encompasses a wide range of materials including paint, water, sand, “gloop and goo”, glitter, dough, baked beans, cornflakes, bubbles, pasta and rice, potatoes, jelly, the list is endless but you get the picture!
There are opportunities for children to grasp, squeeze, scoop, pour, spread, and explore- all important for building up the muscles needed for fine motor skills such as writing.
Under trained guidance, babies and children are encouraged to use all their senses in the process of explorations particularly in terms of touch when it comes to moulding and manipulating materials and in a way that is both challenging and fun, and that they may not be able to access at home.
Find a class near you and get involved in the fun!
About the author:
Amanda is the founder of Little Squigglers and now also of Little Squigglers Franchise Ltd. An ex Primary School teacher and mother of two, Amanda is passionate about the development and creativity of children.
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