The word ‘messy’ is often associated with babies and toddlers; no other age group is quite as skilled in the art of creating a mess! As adults we are programmed to avoid mess, to clean it up, to see it as something negative; but what if messy play is actually one of the most powerful tools we have to help our child’s development?
When a baby plays with their food, spitting and throwing, they are learning about their bodies, about tastes and textures, cause and effect and how the world works. To mess about with different materials and to engage the senses is to play, and playing is the way babies and toddlers learn and develop. ‘Messy Play’ is about engaging all of the child’s senses in a process of exploration. The aim is not to create anything specific but for the little ones to become absorbed in the process; to manipulate and mould materials so they can start to make sense to them.
Research has shown that play which engages the senses, ‘Sensory’ or ‘Messy’ Play, builds nerve connections in the brain that enable children to understand the world around them. Discovering the different characteristics of the materials they work with help babies and toddlers to ‘sort’ things into categories and to learn the difference between wet and dry, hard and soft, rough or smooth, etc. Sensory play enhances fine and gross motor skills as well as providing opportunities to support the development of language and social interaction.
Above all, Messy Play/Sensory Play is fun! You just need to see the reaction of a small child allowed to play about in water to see the enjoyment they get from simple actions such as splashing and pouring. Fun is good. Fun is the foundation of self esteem and self confidence; fun is the space in which learning and development is at its best.
At SensoBaby, we’ve designed our SensoBaba and SensoTot classes with all this in mind, so you can support your little one as they embark on their journeys of discovery. And the best part about it?….You don’t have to clean up the mess!