Do you enjoy a good mess-making endeavour or do you prefer to keep your hands clean?
Unlike many adults, kids really enjoy making a mess. But it isn't about being destructive, it's about exploring and learning. Messy play allows children to use many of their senses, it can stimulate the brain and help them learn. By touching, tasting, smelling, looking and listening kids can discover so much about their world, their feelings and at the same time, have a lot of fun!
Of course not all messes are pleasing and so we still must create limits and expectations to children as to what can or cannot be done. An initial exploration of a bowl of oatmeal is okay but dumping it on the floor at every meal is not.
Encouraging messy play can help keep the messy explorations under control when needed. When you give them opportunities to explore and discover it can help them understand the limitations. When you set aside a time and place for finger painting, mud play or slime experiments it can help children recognize that there are good times for messy play and times where it isn't a good choice (like when they are wearing their good clothes)
Book recommendation: Messy Monkey
The Messy Monkey character has a muscle disorder which causes him to be less coordinated and often messy. This story encourages children to understand, to help and to enjoy messy situations when they can.
Pick up this book from the Emotional Animal Alphabet series on Amazon or through the website!
The Benefits of playing in the dirt
Dirt can build the immune system - introducing children to dirt when they are young helps their bodies learn how to resist bacteria.
Playing outside makes kids more happy and healthy - nature is very healing and calming so the more kids play outside the better their mental health will be
When kids play outside they learn to gauge risks, they learn to be adventurous and they learn how to amuse themselves
Enjoy making a mess with your child!
There are plenty of ways to enjoy making a mess together. Not only does this create opportunities to create memories together but it can also introduce the concept of cleaning up when the mess is done.
You can garden and both get dirty
Splash in puddles together
You can bake and make a mess in the kitchen
You can wash a car or bicycle together and get suds and water everywhere
You can go to the beach and dig in the sand, make mud pies and sandcastles
What is important is that the mess isn't treated as something bad or gross. It is recognized as a moment of discovery, an activity to build memories and a time to share in the fun!
Sometimes a mess may involve poop, from a baby, toddler or animal. Bodily functions are natural and it is better to talk about them. Check out my blog post Do you really give much thought to poop? to get that conversation started!