Most people hate messes. “Clean your room”. “Pick that up.” “Be careful, don’t spill that.” Sound familiar? What if I told you that getting messy is important! Not only is it important, messy play is vital to the growth and development of young children.
Today, along with our amazing partner, Bounty, I am going to share a few tips for handling messy play like a rockstar!
This conversation is sponsored by Bounty, as part of the Quicker Picker Upper Crew.
What is Messy Play?
Messy play is any activity that involves children getting their hands, their fingers, or even their entire body completely messy. It can be done at any age and used by any developmental level. Messy play can include activities such as sensory activities, science explorations, art explosions, and even adventures in nature such as mud pies and puddle jumping.
What does Messy Play Look Like?
Messy. Well, I am sure that didn’t surprise you, right? Okay, in all seriousness, messy play can look different for different ages, development levels and ages of the children. I have gathered some of our absolute favorite messy play ideas here for you to get started!
Why Is Messy Play Important?
Messy Play Ignites the Senses | Messy play encourages children to discover and manipulate their world through all of their senses. The most commonly known sense involved in messy play is the tactile sense, however messy play also involves olfactory, proprioceptive, and even gustatory input!
Messy Play Makes Connections | When children are involved in messy play, it allows their brains to connect the information they are learning to a tangible, tactile experience. This allows them to understand and learn the information better.
Messy Play Creates Memories | What child won’t remember rolling around in a pile of oobleck, getting covered in mud, or painting with their feet? It’s these small moments that allow children to be children.
Tips for You to Handle Messy Play Like a Rockstar
Alright, so I might have talked you into some of the benefits of messy play. I might have even interested you in some of our cool ideas. But you might still be thinking, no way! Uh uh! Not in my CLEAN house!
Don’t worry! These tips can help you keep your clean house while still giving your children the experiences they deserve!
Be Prepared | If you know you are going to a specific messy play activity with your children, have everything set out and ready to go before you ever start. This way there is less chance of spills, unplanned messes, and mishaps to deal with. Oh, and have those paper towels handy!
Start Small | No one says the first messy play experience you try has to be covering your entire house in whipped cream and swimming in it. Why not try little pie pans or tupperware containers.
Keep It Simple | Again, messy play doesn’t have to involve elaborate ingredients, long instructions, and confusing ideas. Keep it simple. You would be amazed how long your kids can play in a cookie sheet of salt.
Set Parameters and Guidelines | Before you ever begin, it is a good idea to get your kids ready for what is allowed and not allowed. Maybe you are okay with flour on the couch. Maybe you only want the children at the kitchen table. Maybe everyone has to have a hand inspection before they leave the play area. Whatever it is, have a plan and let your children know BEFORE you start. My favorite tip is to have a special waterproof tablecloth to put down where you want the messy play to happen.
Create a Cleaning Toolkit | This is super important! Just as important as having your space ready to play, having a simple cleaning toolkit with the right tools for the job will make you more likely to try again! You might even want to try these new paper towels from Bounty with the Dawn soap ALREADY in the towel! New Bounty with Dawn is changing the way you clean. Like a dishcloth, Bounty stays intact while you clean. And even better, the mess washes right out so you can finish the job with one sheet. How cool and simple is that?
Now, do you feel ready to get messy? I know I do! Do you have special tips for handling messy play like a rock star? I’d love to hear all about it!