Tactile play offers endless opportunities for learning and messy play is a crucial component of early education. There are many benefits of messy play.
What are the benefits of messy play?
Messy play offers benefits to children of all ages and abilities. It allows children to become engaged and get to know other children. Children who are in the process of learning to speak can join in and use materials with their peers because messy play does not rely on words. Since there is no “right way” to do messy play, children with special needs can use these open-ended materials in their own way and still be a part of the group.
Developmental benefits of messy play include:
- Physical development: fine motor skills and eye hand coordination, understanding of one’s body in space.
- Communication: opportunities to use words and gestures while playing with various textures.
- Personal and emotional development; encourages curiosity and builds self-confidence and self-esteem, offers an outlet for feelings, experiences, and thoughts.
Messy play recipes
Here are some messy play recipes you can try at home!
3 rolls toilet tissue
1 bar Ivory soap, grated
3/4 cup borax
- Encourage the children to help unroll tissue.
- Put all unrolled tissue in a large container or sensory table.
- Saturate with water.
- Add Ivory soap and borax. Mix well.
1 cup water
1 cup white glue
2 tablespoons liquid tempera paint or 7-10 drops food coloring
1 1/3 cups warm water
4 teaspoons borax
- Mix water, glue and paint in a medium bowl.
- In a second bowl, mix the warm water and borax together until borax is completely dissolved.
- Slowly pour the water, glue and paint mixture into the water borax mixture (do not mix).
- Roll or swish water, glue and paint around in the water and borax mixture 4-5 times.
- Lift the water, glue and paint solution out and knead.
- Store in an airtight container or plastic zip bag.
1 tablespoons liquid starch
2-3 drops food coloring
2 tablespoons white glue
- Mix white glue and food coloring together in a small bowl.
- Pour liquid starch into a second small bowl.
- Pour the glue mixture on top of the liquid starch. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until glue absorbs the liquid starch.
- Remove from bowl and knead. The more you knead the better consistency the putty will be.
- Store in plastic bag.
1 1/2 cups corn starch
1 cup water
2-3 drops food coloring (optional)
- Mix the ingredients and allow children to play with the mixture.
- When “pushed” together, the mixture will appear dry and solid; as children let go of the mixture, it flows like a smooth liquid.
If your child struggles with messy play and you would like to speak to one of our occupational therapists about your concerns, contact us and make an appointment.
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