Messy play is so important to a child’s development. Play allows children to explore textures, refine motor skills and understanding language. How can you describe the word ‘slimy’ without feeling it first? We love how much fun our little ones have, watching their imagination go wild! The Green Grandma is back with some amazing ideas to keep play fun, exciting and cheap! Let us know what your favourite rainy day boredom busters are!
Learning through Play
Pre-school children make sense of the world through play. During play children learn and develop the skills they need for everyday life. Play helps to nurture children’s imaginations helping them to develop communication, emotional, creative and social skills. Play is all about the process, not about the end result. Previously working as a childcare practitioner for 16 years means I have been able to provide my children and grandchildren with lots of enriching play experiences. Creating educational activities and games does not have to cost lots of money. Nor does it need to put any extra strain on the environment.
Using What You Have
Plastic bottles can be repurposed into music shakers or sensory bottles for babies. Add to the bottles, rice, pasta, or dried pulses let your child choose what they would like in their shaker, a little goes a long way. Most important when you are finished make sure the lid is completely secured, and there you have a musical shaker. To make a little music session grab some saucepans, turn them upside down add a wooden spoon and you have drums too. Use the homemade instruments to create rhythms and beats to favourite nursery songs. Include counting beats and counting songs; encouraging the development of language and numeracy skills.
I created a fun activity with my three year old grandson
Threading activities can encourage hand to eye coordination which helps develop the skills that are needed to physically write. I created a fun activity with my three year old grandson using a colander and pipe cleaners; we turned the colander upside down and took turns in threading the pipe cleaners through the holes. He needed a little hand guidance at first, but soon got the hang of it. Dried Penne pasta is also great for threading onto string, for extra fun the pasta can be painted with watercolor paint first. Tie one pasta tube long ways onto the end of the string, to stop the rest falling off. You can also use Cheerios to thread onto string, to make edible necklaces. As always supervise children and be mindful of their age and stage.
Messy play does not have an end goal, it is all about the process
Most children love messy play, you may not like mess but if you plan out little activities it does help contain the mess a little! Messy play does not have an end goal, it is all about the process, and I think that’s why I love it. I have organised and run many messy play sessions for parents and their children; it is great bonding time and the play is therapeutic. At home you need a little area, where you can contain the mess, I normally use the kitchen or the garden, I have a children’s table and a washable plastic tray with sides that is perfect for all types of play.
Let’s make goop!
To make cornflour gloop, mix 2 cups of corn flour to 1 cup of water into a bowl or tray – this one is very messy. Let your child help with the mixing and measuring, it is all part of the process. Slowly add the water stirring, or mixing in with hands. It will turn into a thick gloopy liquid when mixed, watch it waterfall out of both your hands, try making it into shapes, watch it fall back into a liquid, and add in toy animals to extend the play experience.
It can be covered and stored in the fridge for a couple of days, and if not it does dry back into a solid powder when you need to dispose of it. You can also create a quick messy gloop with just flour, food colouring and water, add spoons and paper cake cases to play with, I call it pretend baking!
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How do you find parenting ? Do you worry about climate change? Have you changed your habits for the good of the planet? Maybe you have experience with having grandchildren? We would love to hear from you. Contact us with your story.