In the Rabbits Room we love Messy Play. Our babies are introduced to this type of play from the start of their nursery journey. You might be thinking why is it so important for the youngest children to get messy and explore sensory resources? The answer is very simple, the brain development in babies occurs when their senses are stimulated and we believe that messy play is a great way to support this development as it allows children to learn about the world through their senses and the manipulation of objects.

At the nursery we provide our babies with opportunities such as:

• Mud play
• Gloop play
• Cooked or dry porridge, pasta, rice, Weetabix, lentils etc.
• Play dough
• Water, bubbles, ice
• Body painting

TOP TIP – Invest in waterproof all in ones for your child/ren to protect their clothes and make it easier for yourself to contain the mess. There is a great selection on Amazon for a reasonable price.

However we know these types of activities can seem like a challenge for some parents and the whole idea of messy play can be overwhelming. Let’s not forget about all the mess and the fear of ruining your home décor. Don’t worry we have got simple tips for you on how to start messy play at home.
Firstly we would recommend buying a builders tray, you can find it on Amazon and the prices starts from £9.99. The tray is a great way of containing the mess as well as a fun and interesting way of presenting the activity to your child/ren.
Think outside of the box. What resources do you already have at home that you can use? We are sure you have a bag of pasta, rice or lentils? Add a bit of paint and home utensils such as a ladle, wooden spoons or potato masher and you are all sorted for your first messy play.

Another simple and cheap idea is ice-cubes and paint. This activity will also help build up your child’s fine-motor skills and co-ordination as well as being an easy science experiment where babies can observe ice-cubes turning into water. Don’t forget about all the amazing language you can introduce to your child/ren during those play opportunities. Try using phrases such as “UUUUU- look, it’s melting” or ask simple questions like “hmmm –is it cold?” Providing the children with a wide variety of vocabulary and extending their language will have a great impact on their language development.

Our all-time favourite messy activity in the baby room is Body Painting. This activity allows the children to explore freely and independently. It also allows babies to strengthen their body control and the big movements support their gross-motor skills development. It further nutrure’s children’s curiosity and experimentation and allows them to be creative.

We are hoping that we have provided you with some useful tips on messy play.

• Dress for mess
• Start with something simple
• Find activities you are comfortable to try
• Be prepared to clean up
• And most importantly have fun together

Are you feeling adventurous? We would love to see your messy fun. Feel free to upload your photos onto our Facebook page – Hardmoor Early Years Centre or add them to your Instagram account using hashtag – #hardmoor #hardmoormessyplay

Mika and Marta