Messy play is all about having fun with materials with no end objective, it’s about free play and imagination, discovering how something moves and can be manipulated in new and fantastical ways. It doesn’t need to be a wild mess, I promise! Read on for some great messy play ideas for babies.
We love messy play in our house and you know what, it doesn’t have to be that messy – don’t picture carpet cleaning bills and hours of scrubbing. Messy play offers children the opportunity to explore using their senses, particularly touch. So the materials can be dry, contained in bottles to make rattles, or just slightly sticky, like spaghetti. Babies and older children are able to mold and manipulate materials as they wish. And as mentioned, it’s not about creating something particular – or anything at all – there’s no end product in sight, messy play is about freedom of discovery. Trying things out, embracing the confusion – ‘Hey, wait a minute if I do that…nope’ and look deeper, change one’s thought pattern with new information – ‘Oh, OK, look if I hold this, then that will… yes!’
In summer it’s much easier as we can go outside. Most kids adore the beach, playing in the sand, paddling in the ocean and of course, visiting the park. Outside messy play is another great activity you can enjoy in your own space. And there’s no reason not to put down a wipe clean mat on the floor and have fun with messy play inside and all year round too! You really have to embrace it wholeheartedly, it’s not about being neat and orderly. Ways to overcome the fear of messy play being just too chaotic for your perhaps already slightly tired and frazzled nerves, are to prepare well with all messy play items ready and floor covering – wall covering too, if necessary – and leave plenty of time to tidy up. Get the kiddos to help tidy, too!