Physical Development

Managing Messy Play At Home

Messy Play is such an important part of the Early Years’ experience; in nurseries children will have plenty of opportunities for messy play using ice, cold pasta, jelly, sand, water, dough, compost…. they’re all enjoyably messy for young children!

When the weather is fine enough to be outside then you can also practise messy play at home with water, compost, jelly, mud and more: follow these links back to previous blogs for ideas.

Of course you may prefer not to encourage messy play indoors and maybe you have been limiting it to bathtime when you can just wipe up the puddles.  However you might like to give your children some uncooked pastry (a ‘dough’) to play with while you are baking.

When your biscuit recipe instructs you to roll the dough into a ball shape, of course you know how to do that and our under fives also need opportunities to develop these manipulating skills.

Messy play helps to develop muscles in the arms, hands and fingers, promoting hand and eye co-ordination and control.  Children like to experiment with dough and investigate all of it’s sensory experiences and it is useful for adults to sit with young children so that you can mould and model together (it’s quite therapeutic for adults too!).

We knew that Daisy would enjoy having some different indoor messy play while she’s at home so this Easter holiday we decided to order some Playfoam for her.  Playfoam has a different texture to other types of dough; its light, colourful and easy to shape and manipulate, making it ideal for pre-school children.  It’s also non- toxic and comes in a range of bright colours as well as sparkle and glow-in-the-dark versions.

A young girl using multicoloured play foam and straws for a session of messy play.

Playfoam doesn’t stick to clothing, hair or carpets and it doesn’t dry out children can model and leave their works of art out on display to share with others: it’s the answer to messy play at home without any mess.

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