Dear Mumma, have you been Googling, “Ways to deal with a messy child?” or “benefits of messy play?” If so, you have NOT landed on an unknown planet. There are scientific reasons to let your kids get messy. We’ll explore the explanation in this blog post.
As a very organized, detailed-oriented individual, I understand the need to stay clean and uncluttered. Up till now, no parent ever shared their reasons for letting the kids get messy. However, off-late, with my 4-year-old exploring all the mess he creates around him, I have come to realize that this is not always possible, as much as my OCD self tries to tell me it should. Reconciling the two extremes is very difficult for me at times. I have to keep in mind that these are kids and this is how they learn. Learning can and should be fun! Getting messy allows them to do both.
1. Information Gathering
Kids learn from the messes that they make, believe it or not. When a toddler is smashing their food on the high chair tray or they throw it on the floor, their developing brains are processing the information they gather. The textures they feel, the names of the food they constantly hear you repeat; it is all being put into memory.
2. Cause and Effect
By learning what happens to those peas when your kid smooshes them, they begin to learn cause and effect. That is why children like to squish bugs so much; they do not realize that they are killing a living creature, they simply want to see what happens. The same goes for arts and crafts. By letting kids get messy while painting, you allow them to discover on their own what happens.
They discover that combining two or more colors create a completely new color, or that by flinging the paint instead of smearing or stroking the brush against the paper or canvas they can create a more interesting picture. This is why chemistry sets are so popular: older kids get to stumble upon the effects of mixing one chemical with another.
3. Activates senses
Humans have five senses. Kids have five underdeveloped senses. Some may not have the ability to use one of their senses, making it that much more important to develop the remaining four. One of the best ways to build those senses is to allow them to play, allow them to get messy. Let them play in the mud to feel what the mixture of dirt and water is like on their skin, between their toes; you may need to replace your rug when they track that mud into the house.
Let them hear the squishy sounds as they squeeze it through their fingers. Let them see the muckiness and the dark brown color of the mud. Let them smell the dirt as it accidentally goes up their noses. All of these I have trouble with; cleanliness is important in life as an adult, but to kids, this is their way of life, their road to discovery. As much as it pains me to say this, let them play in the mud.
Children need the freedom to be messy so they can learn independence. If you allow them to freely explore their playtime, they will learn how to explore life. As sad as it is to think about, they will learn how to explore life without you. Life is not just about knowledge and numbers and rules, nor just about being successful. Life gets messy. By stepping back and watching them
play, you are helping them learn how to navigate that future messiness. You are allowing them to activate their own power of thinking, deduction, and reasoning, and setting them up for success better than any school could.
Discovery is exciting. It stimulates the brain to begin learning at the earliest of ages. Discovery stimulates the senses and allows children to identify things other than by sight. It can help them learn how to navigate life. Discovery can do more than all of this, however. It can encourage future learning.
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