Children will be given the tools to develop and practice fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. Activities such as stacking, pouring and spooning will develop eye-hand coordination. Practicing cutting, writing in shaving cream and using tongs will develop fine motor skills. Hands-on activities will provide opportunities for children to compare textures such as smooth, rough, hard and soft. While respecting each other's personal space, children will gain an understanding of their own body space.

Communication and Language Development

During messy play, children will be given many opportunities to speak and listen. They will use words and gestures to share resources, explain actions, negotiate plans and take turns. The use of letters in the activities, leads to understanding the symbolic nature of written language.

Personal, Emotional and Social Development

Messy Play is designed with children's natural curiosity in mind. It encourages a positive approach to new experiences. There is no "right" way for children to do messy play. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Through messy play, children can develop concentration, problem-solving and planning. Working with others fosters self-respect and respect for others. It also presents opportunities for making relationships. Messy play can offer an outlet for feelings, experiences and thoughts.

Intellectual Development

Children will investigate, explore, design and create leading to a better understanding of the world around them. Children will learn to group and classify, arrange items in a logical order, identify and match and understand cause and effect. As they observe, predict, try out solutions, observe the results, and evaluate information they gain a greater understanding of the scientific method.

Creative Development

Children are given endless opportunities with a variety of materials to build imagination and creativity. Through sensory experiences, they are able to respond to what they see, hear, feel, touch and smell. They will express their feelings and thoughts through color, texture, shapes and forms in two and three dimensions.

Additional Benefits

Messy play offers benefits to all children. It allows children of all abilities to become involved and get to know other children. Since there is no "right way" to do messy play, children with additional needs can use these open-ended materials in their own way and still be a part of the group.  For children with special educational needs where a child’s ability to learn in the same way as their peers is affected, sensory play can be highly beneficial. A sensory play tray can engage numerous senses, creating an inviting, calming and tactile stimulus for children of all abilities.

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