Five Tips to Enjoy Messy Play at Home

2021-03-03

Messy play is a wonderful thing. It’s fun and educational, introducing babies to new textures, enhancing toddlers’ fine motor skills and fostering preschoolers’ imagination. But it’s also fairly…messy!

While childcare centres are well equipped for such a mess, your home might not be. If you want to reap the rewards without damaging your carpet or ruining your walls, here are five ways you can adapt the messy activities your children love at daycare.

Invest in a good mat

A good, large mat designated for messy activities is a great way to contain any spills to one easy to clean area. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: an old shower curtain or a large vinyl tablecloth will do the trick. Have cloths on hand to keep toddlers tidy when they’re ready to move on.

Go outside

The outside area at daycare is a seamless spot for messy activities, and the same can be true at home. Set up an easel with some washable paint, build a mud kitchen or get colouring with outdoor chalk. Unlike interior walls, furniture and carpet, there is little chance of damaging your backyard when you bring the fun outside.

Use the bathtub or shower

For indoor messy play, there’s nowhere better than the bathroom. Bring gloop, slime or colourful shaving cream into the bathtub or shower – the kids can go nuts and the whole mess can be washed away in minutes afterwards. You can even run the bath, including bubbles and water in your activity for some added fun (and a head start on clean up!)

Water play

There are so many benefits of playing with water in early childhood, from teaching teamwork to problem solving to language development as you describe what you see (flow, wet, spill, slip!) The benefit for you at home? Water makes for a pretty innocuous mess! Use a water table, a sprinkler or even just a few buckets – the possibilities are endless.

An edible mess

When the mess can be eaten up, it’s a lot less stressful. Trying hiding toys inside jelly; making colourful swirls with whipping cream; or playing with cooked and coloured spaghetti noodles. We love edible messes at daycare and we’re sure you will at home, too.

Afraid of making a mess?
If your attempts at messy play always turn into a chaotic scene of painted walls and wet floors, don’t worry! Our five Learning Tree childcare centres in Auckland offer plenty of opportunities to make a mess.

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