Messy play is a form of sensory play as it provides an opportunity for your child to engage different senses such as the sense of touch, smell, movement and spatial awareness. It aids in the development of motor, cognitive, visual perception and social skills.
However, as parents, we all know that messy play is often a good idea but probably a difficult one to execute. Imagine cleaning up after!
Here are some tips to help contain the mess but still provide your child with the opportunity to engage:
1. Always have a dedicated mat for messy play and make it a big and bright one.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but many parents neglect the importance of the size and the colour of the mat. Having a mat that is big enough for your child to move around comfortably will reduce the chances for spillage and provide you with the opportunity to introduce movement activities into messy play. Using a bright colour that contrasts your floors would also be a big help for the kids to identify the boundaries they have to stay within.
2. Messy play in your back yard or in the bathtub
If you have a back yard and don't mind having it dirtied, it might be a good idea to engage in messy play outside. Simply spray down the area with a water to clean up. What's more, there are more opportunities for touch and feel activities, i-spy games and space for movement activities! The bathtub is also a good place to be during messy play since you can just wash it all off afterwards!
3. Play time in the community
Messy play does not have to be structured and can be done in different places in the community. Building sandcastles on the beach, playing in the puddles, kicking and ruffling fallen leaves are also part of messy play!
4. Have water and wet wipes ready
Remember to include cleaning up when planning a messy play session for the kids. Place them within reach but not too close to topple. Store wet wipes in your cars or by the doors before entering the house so you always have quick access for your kids to clean up briefly before getting through the door after unplanned messy play in the community.
5. Make cleaning up part of messy play
Encourage your children to help with cleaning up by providing instructions or making it a game (especially for the older kids). Let them do the job!
6. Get in on the fun yourself!
We can't leave all the fun to the kids! Get involved & enjoy the quality time together, those are the moments kids will take with them as they grow up :)