How to make the most out of a messy play class with your little one!
Messy play is a great child-led activity that encourages and promotes independent critical thinking, problem solving and many other key skills.
There are lots of ways in which you can support your child during a Little Learners class. I thought I would write a quick blog on a few which I used to follow when working in Early Years.
Encouraging your little one to explore the materials using the tools provided, in the following ways will really maximise key learning opportunities;
👋🏼Scooping, filling, emptying, pouring, scraping, pushing, rolling, turning, dropping, shaking, making finger marks in the materials, painting hands and feet, making simple marks on chalk boards.
These are fabulous ways to build muscle strength in little hands and fingers, which in turn provides children with the dexterity to hold a pencil, and eventually to write!
💜Commentating (it sounds funny but it’s sooo good for speech and language development!)
As your child engages with the tools and materials, explain what they’re doing e.g. “Ollie, you’re moving the car across and making a lovely straight line!”, “I can see you rolling the playdough in your hands!”, “Wow! Look at that zigzag mark you have made on the chalkboard!”. This provides children with the opportunity to link words to actions and objects – an important concept in early language development.
If your child appears hesitant, to explore a messier tray for example, begin to play with the materials yourself. This shows them that they’re fine to touch and explore, and gives them the confidence to copy you and not have to ‘go first’ if they are unsure what to do with it. Some children, when first trying out messy play, can feel unsure as to whether they are ‘allowed’ to play with food, as they’re often encouraged not to at home (let’s face it, no one wants rice being dropped on the carpet 😄). By modelling simple ways to play, this shows your child that it’s okay to touch the materials and that they can play, too!
As adults, we often presume that children know how to play, and in lots of instances, they do. However, if it’s a new class or your little one hasn’t taken part in messy play before, it can feel a bit daunting. That’s where these pointers come in – they might just give them that little nudge they need to get really messy! 🤩
This is a great guide for parents, thanks!