Mess Is Best!

No, messy play isn’t a fad or a gimmick!

Instead, it’s an incredible, all-round learning experience for little tots! Kids are hardwired to play and they are hardwired to learn through play.

Simple messy play is easy to have at home – all you really need is some water, dirt and natural elements from your garden for children to enjoy! As children, it’s the type of fun we had and now research is telling us that messy play isn’t just fun, it’s an incredibly effective way for our children to grow and develop. Knowing this, we can now take advantage of the multitude of purpose-made messy play learning materials and experiences to delight little minds and hearts. That’s what you’ll find at our Messy Explorer events!

If you’re still not sure why mess is best, read on!

Messy play:

  1. Improves Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Co-ordination: all the wonderful textures children encounter like foam, slime, rice, pasta, shredded paper, and playdough all encourage little hands to practice actions like pouring, pinching, stirring, squishing, scooping, squashing.
  2. Expands Language Development: new textual experiences and experimentation help to engage children in language use as we ask them to describe what they feel and what they’re doing. Once you include a small world element or theme, you have the chance to include a wealth of new vocabulary as you talk about oceans, forests, or outer space. But it doesn’t stop there. As children play together another layer of language learning is added as children invent games together, learn to negotiate, share, and talk about what they see and what they’re doing.
  3. Encourages Experimentation: have you ever given your child oobleck to play with and watched their face? Or let them experience the chemical reaction of vinegar and bicarb? Children become little experimenters as they find out what happens to materials when they stretch, poke, stir, squish or mix. They get to answer the question: “What happens when I do this?” Messy play invites spontaneous learning as the children play with cause and effect. The best part? It all happens at their own pace.
  4. Develops Concentration: you know it! I know it! We all know it – an overload of screen time isn’t helping our children’s (or our own!) concentration *. Messy play is so engaging and fun that children learn to focus intently on a task. More than that, have you ever noticed that you find colouring in or playing with play dough quite relaxing? There’s a reason adult colouring books took off a few years ago, these types of activities encourage mindfulness and this helps our children navigate the world and the multitude of new experiences they have as they grow Not only that, but studies show it also improves their persistence – now who wouldn’t want that?
  5. Stimulates Creative Play – with no rules to bind their play and no right way to play, messy play allows children to play their own way. When we give them malleable material like kinetic sand or play dough, children can create their own new shapes or ideas. When we provide a small world messy play, they move and re-position objects to tell a story.

The bottom line: messy play isn’t just fun, it’s valuable. It provides our children with the freedom to be children, while gifting them the opportunity to grow at their own pace and in their own learning style.

Now don’t you agree?

Mess is best!


*If you’re wondering why you find it so hard to concentrate yourself, I highly recommend reading Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. A brilliant and insightful overview of what is destroying our attention and what we can do to fight back!

Sources: Messy Play PDF. Accessed 4 August 2022

Greutman, H. 2018: The Importance of Messy Play for Children, Growing Hands-On Kids, accessed: 4 August 2022

National Centre on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning Designing Messy Play for Infants and Toddlers. Date Accessed 4 August 2022.

PGEditor, 2020. The Benefits of Messy Play. Playgroup Queensland Accessed 4 August 2022 How Messy Play Helps Child Development. Accessed 4 August 2022