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You cringed didn’t you? We spend so much time in our day cleaning things up and chasing around the mess makers. But, yes, messy play is an absolutely must in childhood.
Messy Play- Contained
Just because play is messy, doesn’t mean it can’t stay clean. Confused?
In our center, we have sensory centers. This center is at a space that holds a deep bin. These bins hold many fun, but messy materials. Sometimes the children will find slime, moon sand, or oobleck!
Keep your messy play in one contained area, such as a kitchen table. Close to the sink makes clean up easy! Keep gallon size Ziploc bags near to store your messy materials for another day.
Check these bins out for your own messy play area!
Not sure where to start? Here is a list of materials to get messy with and tools to work with.
- Dry Oatmeal
- Fish Gravel
- Bird Seed
- Dry Beans
- Unpopped Popping Corn
- Cool Whip
- Easter Grass
- Shredded paper
- Water Beads
- Coffee Grounds
- Moon Sand
- Finger Paint
- Spoons (measuring, slotted, large, small)
- Cookie Cutters
- Empty Easter Eggs
- Flour Sifter
- Small Collander
- Paint Brushes
- Small Plastic Animals
- Cars, Trucks
Benefits of Messy play
Now that you have the mess contained, you have your list of materials, WHY are you doing this again? Just what are the benefits to playing with your food?
There are so many benefits! Why else would we have a center dedicated to sensory activities in all of our classrooms?
Here are just a few things children learn through messy play:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Exploring color, shape and textures
- Exploring 2 and 3 dimensions
- Foster a child’s natural curiosity
- Learns about cause and effect
- Allows risk taking in a safe way
- Teaches the concept of size and shape
- Opportunity for math skills such as counting, sorting and measuring
Sensory activities are great for calming an overly excited child. Some children become overstimulated and need ways to re-center themselves. You can even add lavender essential oils to playdoh, cool whip or moon sand to create a calming effect.
What would you add to the list? Anything your child enjoys making a mess with?
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