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Why a Messy Zone is Vital | Learning Through Play
Learning through play happens through sensory exploration, hands on learning, getting messy, feeling things, learning about the world and discovering through our touch, and so much more. Tactile senses are crucial for children’s development. And not only is it crucial for their development, it’s also very soothing and therapeutic for them. And often, these are the types of things that keep our children engaged for a long time. 🤩
Sensory Activities Give Parents a Break
It’s liberating for us parents, ’cause you can sit right next to them with your laptop 💻 and know that they are busy doing sensory activities that are good for that development. Maybe playing with:
- a block of clay
- water jelly beads
Add in a few figures 🤖 or animals 🐖 or a car🚗 and BOOM 💥, you’ve got yourself a long period of deep play.
But I Can’t Handle Messy Play!
I know messy play is triggering for most of us. And now especially, when our kids are hardly out of the house, when we don’t have any help, when we can’t get a moment to clean up. But we’ve got to surrender to it a little bit and we’ve got to accept the fact that children like to get messy, to both keep them engaged and to give them what they need.
So my absolute best tip for a messy zone is any kind of tray. I like to use the Oatey tray, which is a huge tray that goes under washing machines because the bigger the tray and the higher the walls, the more containment there is for mess, right? Sheets and vinyl shower curtains work wonderfully too!
Another tip that you could do is bring the mess into the bathtub 🛀 or the shower. If you have something like paint, you could put it in there with shaving cream, bubbles, water colors, or with food dye and allow your child to paint the walls.
How to Set Firm Boundaries around Sensory Play
If they start throwing it all over the place? Teach them,
“No sweetheart, that stays inside. It’s fun to throw but we’ve got keep it in the tray. And that’s the only way that we get to play with it. Otherwise we’ve got to put it away if we can’t play with it cleanly.”
Challenge: Offer Learning Through Play with a Messy Zone!
So, my challenge to you today is to engage in some messy play and set up a messy zone. Allow your kids to get messy and get dirty and get those hands exploring. Take some pictures of your children learning through play in their Messy Zone and share it out with us on Facebook or Instagram, tag me and use the #PlayPandemic! I can’t wait to see.