Most parents freak out when they hear the word mess. Once look at dirt or paint on your child’s hands sends you into an immediate panic to the sink to wash it off. Why do we as parents do this? Why is a mess so darn freighting? The fact of the matter is – children learn best when they engage multiple senses. Sometimes the messier they are, the better. The more they can touch, taste, see, feel and hear the more they are learning while they play and that’s the goal.
One idea you can get involved as a parent, in kind of a controlled mess is nontoxic body paint. This is water-based paint that you can onto their skin. Use bright, vibrant colors to really stimulate those senses. Relax…when they are done playing, just rinse the paint away with water.
Shaving cream is also a child favorite that you will find a lot of preschools and kindergartens using for sensory play. Just spray it on a table or smooth surface and let them go! It’s like finger painting, but guess what? It just wipes up with rag and your table will be cleaner than it was…its soap! Just be sure to keep it away from their eyes.
Also don’t forget…teens and tweens need to get messy too. A great activity that also teaches them independence is cooking. Cooking and creating a meal is the ultimate sensory experience. Once you teach them the basics, let them try a recipe by themselves or with a friend. You can supervise from a distance, but try not to interfere. Don’t stress about the mess and mistakes are okay. Since they are older, you don’t even have to clean up the mess. Make it a rule that they cook…they clean.
For more messy ideas from San Diego Family Magazine…CLICK HERE!