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7 Benefits of Messy Play for Young Kids

Yes, it’s messy but that’s the point! In fact, the benefits of messy play far outweigh the cons. Don’t believe me? More concerned with the extra washing, bathing and cleaning you think you’ll need to do? Well, stop stressing because once you know these seven benefits of messy play for young children, you’ll never think twice about them again!

What Is Messy Play?

As an adult, we tend to think of messy play as something which is untidy, disorganised and negative. If you have older kids, you’ve probably even told them not to make a mess, or to clean up their mess when they’ve been playing. But did you think about messy play is from your child’s point of view? It involves:

  • A child using all their senses to explore things
  • Being able to manipulate and mould a range of materials
  • To have fun without needing to make or produce something

Messy play can be done inside or outside and with many different types of materials and objects. Sand, mud, water, paint, playdough, glue, glitter, slime, food and bubbles are all great materials to use.

7 Benefits of Messy Play You Can’t Ignore!

Let’s dive into the great benefits which messy play brings to our kids:

  1. Encourages creativity and learning about new experiences
  2. Provides essential stimulation of a child’s senses
  3. Helps build neural connections that support creativity, learning and thinking skills
  4. Assists with language development
  5. Development of fine and gross motor skills 
  6. Builds a child’s understanding of how social interactions work
  7. Develop self confidence and self esteem 

Basically, messy play is one of the best ways we can help our children to develop the skills needed to become successful and competent adults. By manipulating a range of materials with differing textures, young kids can express their emotions and develop their cognitive and language skills. 

Types of Messy Play for Young Children

Some types of messy play activities are better suited for certain ages. Here’s a general guide of some activities to try at home with different age groups. Remember though, that you know your child best, so be aware of what they are playing with. Also check for the toxicity of different materials, choking hazards and potential allergies too.

  • Up to one year old – ice painting, home made finger paint, playing with jelly and  cloud dough, water play
  • Between one and three years old – mud play, sandpit play, rainbow spaghetti, water play and food play
  • Three to five years old – rainbow rice, water play, salt dough, play dough and glitter slime 

Cleaning Up After Messy Play

It’s got to be done! Using the right products to clean up your child’s skin is important too. Make sure your cupboard is full of  organic skin and hair products to ensure your kids are squeaky clean!  Then look forward to doing it all again tomorrow! But don’t forget to order that  shampoo and body wash today. They’ll need it. 

Meta description: Once you know these 7 benefits of messy play for kids, you’ll be planning messy activities every day. We’ve included some cool activities you’ll want to try too.

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