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"Two Tips to Embrace Messy Play

Let's talk about messy play. I know this may be hard to believe considering we offer classes designed around making a mess, but I'm not always keen on embracing this essential aspect of play.

For many of us, the challenge with messy play stems from the clean-up and destruction of the inside portion of our homes. Glue and paint everywhere, rice from a sensory bin all over the floor (so not my vibe), play dough stuck in the carpets; honestly all of these scenarios scream nightmare to me, and along with a dirty home, my trigger sensors go on high alert.

Inviting our kids to participate in messy play nurtures creativity and problem-solving skills while welcoming them to activate multiple senses and behavioral schema. So, how do we offer this experience for our kids if it activates our anxiety and welcomes total chaos into our home? Read on for my two, simple tips.

Designate a messy play area (or two!) in your home for creative freedom.

Maybe you're comfortable allowing kids to paint in the living room. If you're like me and that is absolutely not an option, offer kids a space to use this creative medium freely. For us, we offer opportunities for paint and liquid glue use at their workbench in the basement. They know they can be as messy as they want in this space and can even make mud if that's how they want to play that day.

Sometimes Kimmie will make her own chalk paint (I didn't teach her how to do this) using a hammer, chalk and water. There isn't really anything that's off limits in this space and I find they really thrive when given total creative freedom.

Take it outside.

Designating a space in our home came second to taking all these ideas outside. When the weather allows us to do so, we paint, draw and do everything we would do inside, in nature. It seems simple enough, right? Paint mixes with mud (we use a nontoxic tempera paint) and becomes mud soup, mud pie and art. Glue gets stuck to wood, paper or cardboard and decorated with nature treasures and paint. Mud play was the easiest way for me to embrace messy play. I'm not sure why because it is the messiest form of play IMO but, simply put, kids can be cleaned and clothes can be washed (in summer, put them in an old bathing suit then run them through the sprinklers before going inside) with little effort. Like most families, for ours, the resources to replace a shirt if needed are more accessible than replacing a rug or couch. Our kids are learning to respect nature through messy play, too, which we all know is imperative for future generations.

I'd love to learn how you embrace messy play at home as there are so many ideas I didn't touch on here!

Join us for one of our classes to embrace the mess and creativity nature-based play offers for our kids!

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