Do you embrace messy play or is it your least favourite activity to do with your child? There’s plenty of research into how important messy and sensory play is for a child’s development; right from their early months when babies are just beginning to become aware of the world around them.
Benefits Of Messy Play
Babies and children learn and develop through play, but especially through unstructured, exploratory play. Although playing a game or playing with toys can be educational and fun; messy play focuses on exploring and experimenting with different materials without any end goal such as to build or make something. This allows young children to make their own discoveries using their senses, curiosity and knowledge.
Because messy and sensory play is all about exploring, there’s not right or wrong. This means that any child can participate, whatever their ability, and benefit from it. It’s also a very sociable activity, but one that doesn’t rely on words. Children can play together and share their discoveries without needing to explain things verbally. However, it can also be a way of encouraging speech, for example by describing sensations, textures etc., and helping your child build their vocabulary.
Also, don’t just present your child with a messy activity and then step back and watch them play; get involved too! They will get so much more out of the experience if you interact with them, talk about what you’re doing, ask them open ended questions such as, “I wonder why that happened?” and explore too; who knows you might enjoy it!
Here are some ideas messy play ideas for your little ones:
Bath time: Baths are not just about getting clean they’re also an opportunity to play with water! So leave enough time for your baby or child to play as well as wash. You don’t need bath toys, plastic cups or washed up yoghurt pots are just as good.
Paint: Paint isn’t just for pictures it’s also a tactical substance to explore. Finger painting and handprints are about feeling the paint between their fingers as much as it is about making impressions on paper. You could even let your child experiment with body painting!
Play dough and slime: You don’t have to make anything in particular with play dough. It’s just as important to explore: squeeze it, roll it, splat it, stretch it, squelch it! Slime is a wonderfully tactile substance both for touching and watching as it slides off little fingers.
Foodstuffs: Pasta, cooked and chilled or dry, is great for exploring textures. Other dried foods such as jelly can be scrunched. They all provide interesting sensory experiences.
Obviously, if it is too much for you to prepare, you can always get one of our Sensory Play Kit to skip all the tedious job!
I hope this has given you some good ideas and reasons to let your baby or child get messy. As always, let kids be kidz and enjoy!
Photo credit: The Internet
Literature credit: Pear Tree Childcare Group