For many mums, messy play seems like a bit of a nightmare. It is like handing a loaded paintbrush to a tornado and letting it free in your house. However, messy play is an incredible way for children to learn and further develop, so all parents should work to embrace the mess, and remember it can be cleaned up!
You should try limiting the amount of mess your kid can make, by having them paint and play outside, or lining the floor with newspaper.
Whatever way you choose to manage the mess, the benefits of messy play are undeniable, and they should motivate you to include more messy play into your everyday activities!
Messy Play Builds Curiosity and Exploration
Messy play should not be structured. It should be a time to let your children explore and experiment with different materials, without any end goals or restrictions. With raw materials such as paint, paste, play dough, sand, water, and chalk, their imagination can run free and they can stimulate their curiosity and develop their knowledge while figuring out their own way to play with these materials. When you give them a doll or car, what they can do with the toy is limited. This is why messy play with raw materials is so incredible for exploration and imagination.
It Promotes Independent Play
Children are quickly losing the ability to entertain themselves and search for instant gratification through online games and television. Messy play helps to reverse this or teach them to amuse themselves. With unrestricted messy play, there is no right or wrong way to play. They get to play by their own rules. Using their own imagination to play, to explore, and to problem solve, they will be building up their confidence, and their self-esteem, which helps them develop independence.
Messy Play Promotes Physical Development
What better way to get your children practicing their fine and gross motor skills than by getting messy outside. Hands-on play such as messy play helps children build an awareness of their own bodies. This helps them strengthen muscle control and ability. Pouring, shovelling, moulding and drawing in sand and play dough helps build up the muscles in the arms, and these muscles help to enable the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers to have more precise movements. Messy play also encourages fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, which works to help them hold a pen properly and eat with a fork – all very important skills in their development.
Messy Play Is The Best Play!
There is little doubt that messy play will be your kid’s favourite type of play. It gives them a chance to have the freedom that they aren’t used to, to make their own decisions.
As a mum, remember how important messy play is for your child. Try to keep the messy play outdoors when possible. Protect your floors with a towel or paper if you are doing some messy play inside.
All messes can be cleaned. The benefits of messy play, and the fun your child will have, is so worth the clean-up!
For some ideas on sensory messy play activities for your child, have a look here!