Why messy play is so important for children

One of the most important aspects of a child’s development is messy play. Messy play involves a range of activities that improve brain functioning and teach important life skills in a fun way that children will love.

Whether this involves sensory bins, painting, or solving puzzles, children can choose what it is they wish to do and learn at their own pace. Here we go into some of the main benefits of messy play and why it is so important for children.

Sensory and cognitive development

Messy play engages the senses, including sight, smell, touch, and even taste in some cases. Allowing children to freely explore the world around them is highly important during the key stages of their development.

Activities like moulding, squishing, and mixing materials, like paint and sand, can enhance these sensory and cognitive skills. The key to this is having a hands-on approach, getting the child to recognise different textures and stimulate imagination.

Doing this outside is highly beneficial for getting the child to discover and embrace nature. Try to get them to feel and move around as much as possible but in a safe environment. Providing your child with a pair of barefoot shoes means you don’t need to worry about injury whilst still engaging the senses. This can also help with earthing, which has been known to increase energy and improve sleep. Keep a close eye on them as well to make sure they don’t stray too far.

Fine motor skills

Engaging in messy play supports the development of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Simple activities such as finger painting, scooping and pouring, and playing with small objects are all great ways of getting children to refine these skills, which are vital for everyday tasks such as writing, climbing and tying shoes.

Language and communication skills

When children take part in messy play, they are often vocal, expressing themselves verbally and communicating with others. Describing their creations and discussing their experiences is useful for social interaction, sentence construction, and improving vocabulary.

Collaborating with peers and other kids their age can also help with building their confidence and being able to express themselves. Providing them with a non-judgemental space to explore their emotions means that they learn how to handle the sharing of objects, how to deal with cooperation, and when to take turns.

Creates a sense of responsibility

Growing up to be confident, independent, and responsible, are important traits that parents want to instil in their kids from a young age. Messy play is the perfect way to do this and acts as a starting point for their development.

From engaging in messy and sensory play, children learn to develop a sense of accomplishment and abide by rules and boundaries. Actively involving the child with setting up and putting away their toys and creations will empower them with valuable self-help skills that’ll reinforce the idea of cleaning up after themselves.

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