Here at Yellow Brick Road, our curriculum is centered around interest-based learning and play-based learning. That means that our teachers decide what topics to teach about by paying attention to what our students are interested in and then turning their lessons into intentional play to encourage the notion that learning is fun! Learning through play means that children are constantly involved, excited, and occasionally they get a little bit messy!
Here are some of our most common examples of messy play and how they strengthen students’ development in our classrooms!
Shaving cream sensory activities are perfect for all ages! In a toddler classroom, our students can spread it around on a table and explore their senses and fine motor skills. In a preschool classroom, students can begin writing letters, numbers, and shapes in the shaving cream to establish those early writing skills!
Outdoor paint boards are not only a stable station in our outdoor classrooms, they are also one of the best outdoor messy play stations! Students learn to use their whole arm to paint, making this a gross motor activity. Our students walk away from this activity with paint on their hands, shirts, and arms; but most importantly they walk away from this having learned new skills and excited to see what they will learn to do next!
Having an outdoor classroom gives us an advantage with messy play! Our kiddos play and learn in the grass, around live trees, and in the dirt. We believe that by teaching our students in an outdoor environment we are establishing an appreciation for nature and excitement around learning outdoors!
Of course, messy play goes beyond building fine and gross motor skills. There are major cognitive benefits for all ages in messy play! When a baby or toddler is involved in messy play their brains bridge nerve connections enhancing their memory! Messy play can also be calming for children because it activates their senses. If a child is overwhelmed giving them the opportunity to explore new materials with safe boundaries helps them establish a sense of control and freedom.
Next time your child comes home a little bit messy, ask them what they learned about and how they got messy. We would bet that there is a really fun story behind the mess!