There are many benefits of messy play, especially for babies toddlers and young children. Messy play is a tactile experience that stimulates children’s senses and assists in the development of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. Children learn about the effects of gravity, the behavior of liquid and solid objects by playing with different materials and begin to develop a sense of prediction ie action versus reaction. It doesn’t necessarily require language, so children of different ages, nationalities, development and those with special needs can play alongside each other and interact on the same level. Children are active learners and messy play makes it fun!
So what is messy play? There are a whole range of activities that fall into this category starting at the less messy end of the scale with options such as play dough, blowing bubbles or outdoor water painting with an old paint brush and a container of water. But the fun really begins when you get out the slime, goop, spray bottles and finger painting!
These hands on activities provide children with the opportunity to explore different textures such as smooth, rough, soft and hard. Messy play taps into a child’s natural curiosity and there is no ‘right’ way for messy play, it can help to build confidence and self esteem.
Parents are often hesitant to engage in messy play with their children, but the fun and benefits far outweigh the cleanup.