Benefits of Messy play

  • Creates understanding of the senses
  • Nurtures early form of writing and language skills
  • Supports ability to play independently and builds confidence
  • Strengthens body control and physical development
  • Fosters curiosity, imagination and experimentation
  • Develops problem solving skills
  • Practices good concentration

There are many benefits of messy play especially for babies, toddlers and young children. Messy play is a tactile experience that stimulates children’s senses and assists in the development of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. Messy play helps children to understand their senses by exploring how things feel, smell and taste. It also gives children the opportunity to explore the different textures such as smooth, hard, soft and rough. This type of play nurtures an awareness and understanding of the world that surrounds them. Children learn about the effects of gravity and the behavior of liquid and solid objects, by playing with different materials children begin to develop a sense of prediction

Independent play and self-confidence
Messy play taps into a child’s natural curiosity and there is no ‘right’ way for messy play. Children today are slowly losing the ability to be able to amuse them selves. With messy play, we can teach them that you can make your own entertainment! In an unrestricted play environment where there is no right or wrong way to do things, this is the perfect situation to allow your child to play how they want to. By using their own thinking skills to plan, explore and problem-solve, they are building self-confidence and self-esteem that will develop them as independent people.

Language skills
Messy play can also be used to develop language skills and encourage speech. For example, using letters in the activity helps develop an understanding of the written language, by describing sensations and textures to your children you can help them build their vocabulary, and by talking through what you’re doing and asking open-ended questions such as “I wonder what happens when I do this?” you are providing speaking and listening opportunities and encouraging thinking skills.

Physical development
Hands-on play also offers many physical benefits, allowing your children to develop an awareness of their body and personal space whilst strengthening their muscle control. Activities such as pouring, shoveling or drawing in the sand help build strength in the large muscle groups at the top of the arms and it is these muscles that then enable the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers to make precise and controlled movements. In messy play, children can play with tools to develop and practice their fine motor skills as well as their hand-eye coordination, until soon they can hold a pen or eat with a fork!

Concentration skills
High concentration levels are needed while engaging in messy play, from exploring objects and engaging all of their senses to thinking through their discoveries and trying to communicate them. This helps children to develop essential learning skills, which enables them to focus and concentrate when learning and practicing practical skills.

As you can see there are many benefits to messy play. I would like to encourage you to share in the experience with your child and have some bonding time with messy play. Don’t simply leave them to play on their own, play with them and tell them what you are doing. Encourage them to be creative by showing them how creative you can be and have fun! The options are endless.


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