What’s the big deal about Messy Play?

What Is Messy Play?

Messy Play is a style of play in which children are able to explore, learn, and lead their own play. Messy play involves children using all five senses. Using all five senses in play helps children discover how things feel, smell, taste, as well as identifying what can be seen and what sounds can be created using sensory bases.

Digging and scooping in sand
messy play in noodles
Children playing in water

The Benefits Outweigh The Mess

  • Fine & Gross Motor Development – Messy play is a great way to enhance and develop children’s motor skills. As a result, engaging in play experiences that promote scooping, pouring, and mark making can help strengthen muscles in their fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders. By encouraging physical movement around play spaces children can also build on their spatial awareness, leg muscles, and co-ordination.
  • Scientific Thinking & Processors – Children can use hands on and open ended play to experiment and explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), therefore fostering children’s ideas and feelings. Firstly, children may apply mathematical skills like size, conservation, timing, matching, classifying and sorting in play. Secondly, applying scientific skills can result in children using cause and effect, gravity, problem-solving, and the beginnings of the scientific method. All these areas are amazing for brain growth and development.
  • Language Development – Is it squishy? Smooth? Soft? Rough? Cold? are some of the great ways we can use language in play with our children. Children also tend to talk more when playing, giving children the chance to practice their vocabulary.
  • Inclusive Play – Messy play is an opened ended experience. This makes messy play available to all children, regardless of age, gender, and abilities. Due to the open nature of messy play children are able to learn and play as they please.
  • Emotional Development – Engaging in tactile play releases children’s feelings of anxiety, frustration, and anger. Sensory exposure promotes a positive outlet for children and as a result can calm those big emotions children can experience, even for us adults.
  • Social Development – Messy play can become a great social play activity for children. When children play together it encourages children to collaborate. Therefore, children begin to learn about personal boundaries and sharing of materials. They also begin to understand someone else’s ideas and views, and as a result have the opportunity to express their own.
  • Sensory Input – The most obvious benefit of messy play is sensory input. The results for sensory input strengthens brain development and enhances memory function. It also encourage nerve connections in the brains pathways; supporting children’s thought processes, understanding, and reasoning.
messy play with paint
water being poured through a funnel

What To Expect At Little Messy Learners

Our classes are designed to provide children a safe place to explore, investigate, and express themselves through play.

It’s in our name but its true! Our sessions often get MESSY and we are totally here for it. The mess that is left behind is absolutely on us and no need for you to worry.

Here’s a guide at some of the things you can expect to see and do with your little ones

  • Singing & Dancing – We love starting our session with music and dancing! We have a variety of musical shakers, rainbow streamers, and scarves to encourage your child to make their mark!
  • Wet & Dry Sensory Bases – We use many sensory bases in our classes to explore and each session is always different. You may experience textures like playdough, rice, noodles, paint, or couscous to name a few.
  • Fine Motor Activities – While our sessions are big on fine motor development we do have designated fine motor activities available. These activities may be jigsaw puzzles, threading beads, cutting with scissors, or stacking cups.
  • Gross Motor Play – Some of our sessions may include gross motor activities such as balancing stepping stones, foam building blocks, or sensory mats.
messy play with oobleck

Find A Class

Wyndham & Hobsons Bay


New South Wales

Western Australia
Mandurah & Rockingham
Kwinana, Cockburn & Melville

There may not be a Little Messy Learner’s class in your area, but have you thought about running your own Little Messy Learners? Enquire about becoming our next franchisee!

This blog was written by Brooke from Little Messy Learners Hobart. For more messy play fun or play ideas visit Brooke’s facebook and instagram @littlemessylearners_hobart

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