Build on your child’s natural curiosity with messy play.
Messy play offers one of the best learning and developmental experiences your young child can have. It is a wonderful opportunity to nurture your child’s creativity and enhance motor skills, language, and social-emotional development.
To help maintain your own mental wellness during messy play, it is highly recommended that activities be done in a well-organized open space.
The activities can be quite messy, but the environment should not be. This will help your child feel welcome and safe, which is the expectation.
Helpful suggestions for setting up messy play for your child
Make the play area easy to set up and clean up.
Use a tarp or a large shower curtain to define the appropriate space for the messy fun. Dress your child in smocks or old clothes. Parent(s) too!
Communicate your expectations and instructions simply and clearly to your child. Be involved with your child in the messy fun.
Some ideas for messy play include:
- Make available dry materials (e.g. paper, balls, large pompoms, etc.)
- Blow soap bubbles of various sizes
- Walk barefoot on various textures (e.g. papers, sand, grass, leaves, etc.)
- Use play dough and shred/tear paper
- Play with hands using materials like sand and water mixed together, or use smear foam (shaving cream works great)
- Make patterns with loose parts (e.g. pieces of cardboard)
- Use water-based colored hand painting
- Use your old pots and pans with large spoons for mixing, making music/noise, etc.
- Use your own imagination with items in your home environment
Relax and have fun!