There is no right or wrong way to do messy play; children of all abilities can use materials in their own way and still be part of the group. Children learning English as a second language can join in too as messy play does not rely on words. Messy play offers many opportunities for learning:
- Activities such as stacking, pouring and spooning develop hand-eye coordination.
- Practising cutting, writing in shaving cream and using tongs develops fine motor skills.
- Hands-on activities allow children to compare textures i.e. smooth, rough, hard and soft.
- Children gain an understanding of their own body space.
Communication and language development
- Using words and gestures to share resources; explain actions and take turns.
- The teacher/care giver asking open ended questions encourages thinking skills and the narrative skills for storytelling.
- The use of letters in activities promotes an understanding of written language.
Personal, emotional and social development
- Building self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Developing concentration, problem solving and planning.
- Fostering self-respect and respect for others.
- Presenting opportunities for making friendships.
- Offering an outlet for feelings, experiences and thoughts.
- Children will investigate, explore, design and create, leading to a better understanding of the world around them.
- Children will learn to group, classify and arrange items in a logical order. They can identify, match and understand cause and effect.
- They can predict and try out solutions; observing the results and evaluating information gaining a greater understanding of the scientific method.
- Counting, calculating and measurement.
- Sorting objects, filling containers and creating patterns.
- Using numbers helps children understand their meaning.
- An opportunity for imagination and creativity.
- Through sensory experiences children are able to respond to what they see, hear, feel, touch and smell
- Children can express their feelings and thoughts through colour, texture and shapes.