My daughter loves to make a mess. I have spent countless hours wiping sticky hands and trying to organize her paintings on our kitchen counter. And now, at 2 years old, she absolutely must help me in the kitchen. This means I now have to wash double the bowls and double the utensils.
It is common sight at my house to see her covered from head-to-toe in Oobleck or other sticky, messy fun.
Some people don’t understand why I allow my daughter to make such a mess while I just sit back and smile. It’s because I know that beyond the paint splatter and mud pies, important developmental leaps are abound.
Messy play is actually very beneficial to your toddler. S/he just thinks they are having fun, but they are also learning.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Mr. Fred Rogers
Alongside creating lasting memories for your child they are also improving their language skills, motor development, creativity, mathematical skills and their social and emotional development, according to Early Childhood Development Assoc.
Allowing my daughter the freedom to experiment at her own pace and comfort level, she is essentially teaching herself a plethora of priceless information. For example, while she is mixing her paints she is learning how to create secondary and tertiary colors. When she helps me bake a cake in the kitchen she is learning how to count and measure. And while playing with the famous Oobleck and Slime she is learning how to correctly identify new textures.
Making a mess might be an intimidating and exhausting thought for you as the parent, but you are creating a whole *ahem* … mess … (pun so intended) of important synapses in your child’s developing brain that will last a lifetime. Messy play is also a great time to start teaching your little ones how to cleanup after themselves.
Parents.com says, “When babies swirl, smash, and splash away, they’re actually improving their ability to control the muscles in their hands. And that’s key to getting ready for controlling spoons, crayons, and pencils in the not-so-distant future.” (para. 5)
So get out there and get messy, parents! It’s so worth the cleanup!
Early Childhood Development Assoc.: The Benefits Of Messy Play, 2017(http://www.ecdevelopment.co/2017/04/21/the-benefits-of-messy-play/)
Parents: The Importance Of Messy Play, 2018 (https://www.parents.com/featured/DreftMessyPlay)