This week in Jasper, we have been expanding our play spaces in accordance to the ever changing weather patterns, we have been venturing from our muddy play-yard to the grassy plains of the backyard to the gross motor filled adventures at Kenilworth park.
Indoors our focus has been on the importance of messy/sensory play. Children learn and develop through play, but especially through unstructured, exploratory play. Although playing a game or playing with toys can be educational and fun; messy play focuses on exploring and experimenting with different materials without any end goal such as to build or make something. This allows young children to make their own discoveries using their senses, curiosity and knowledge.
Because messy and sensory play is all about exploring, there’s no right or wrong. This means that any child can participate, whatever their ability, and benefit from it. It’s also a very sociable activity, but one that doesn’t rely on words. Children can play together and share their discoveries without needing to explain things verbally. However, it can also be a way of encouraging speech, for example by describing sensations, textures etc., and helping your child build their vocabulary.
So what kinds of activities should you be doing with your child? Well, with messy play anything goes within reason. Of course, there are safety considerations: Using foodstuffs such as lentils might present a choking hazard, so it’s important that you always plan messy play activities in such a way that you minimize risks.
Also, don’t just present your child with a messy activity and then step back and watch them play; get involved too! They will get so much more out of the experience if you interact with them, talk about what you’re doing, ask them open ended questions such as, “I wonder why that happened?” and explore alongside them. We hope you have a great weekend 🙂
Neha & Mariam