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Messy Play and its Importance in Childcare Curriculum

messy play at childcare

Messy play is the introduction of a variety of textures, sensations and tactile experiences to your child. It can be exposure to real-life objects like water, sand or feathers, or playing with man-made materials like glue, paint or playdough.

If the idea of making a mess at home sends shivers down your spine, don’t worry! At Scribbles childcare centres in Mt Wellington, Mt Roskill and Onehunga, we incorporate messy play into our little ones’ lives regularly. Rest assured that even if you keen a clean home, your wee one is getting messy with us at daycare!

What are the Benefits of Messy Play?

Messy play is a fun and cherished part of our daycare curriculum not only because preschoolers love it, but because it also helps them learn, develop and grow. Through new sensory experiences, children begin to understand, categorise and become curious about the physical world.

As an unstructured and child-led activity, kids can take control and ownership of the activity, approaching situations when they feel comfortable which helps to build confidence, self-awareness and imagination.

At preschool, we also use messy play to introduce and develop language skills. Describing the experience is a great way to introduce new words – rushing water, sticky slime, crunchy leaves are just a few examples that our childcare teachers would use.

Examples of Messy Play

These are some of our favourite messy play activities from our daycare centres in Mt Wellington, Mt Roskill and Onehunga:

• Splashing in paddling pools
• Blowing and popping bubbles
• Playing with slime
• Making – and jumping in – piles of leaves
• Painting on stones

As you can see, messy play ranges from activities where a full outfit change is required, to quiet, exploratory activities that encourage down-time whilst exploring the natural world.

What if I Don’t Like Making a Mess at Home?

That’s okay! The early childcare educators at Scribbles Childcare know it’s hard enough to keep a family home clean without additional messes, which is why we make sure to introduce your youngsters to plenty of new sensory experiences at daycare.

That said, if you do want to dip your toes into the world of messy play, here’s a few tips to make it more manageable at home:

• Start small – splash around in the bath, blow bubbles or stomp through puddles on a rainy day
• Contain the mess – use the highchair or a small room like the laundry or bathroom
• Go outside – grass, leaves, flowers and mud are all naturally-occuring messy play options
• Be prepared – have the towels, wipes and a change of clothes handy for any indoor messy play projects

Want more tips and information on messy play? Pop into Scribbles Childcare in Mt Wellington, Mt Roskill and Onehunga and have a chat with one of our daycare teachers.