This post is sponsored by Swiffer. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have a confession to make: I don’t like messy projects or activities. There I said it. There are a good number of activities we do on this blog that literally make me want to cringe because they are so messy. Clutter and chaos stress me out and messy play inevitably means more work for me…something I like to avoid at all costs.
However, I try to make a conscious effort to allow my children to have opportunities for messy play. Just because it is an inconvenience for me does not mean that I should rule it out entirely. There are some real, tangible benefits to allowing your child to get messy.
I am honored to join Swiffer and Sarah Michelle Gellar as we encourage parents to say “Yes to the Mess” and embrace (not just tolerate) life’s little messes.
5 Reasons to Say Yes to the Mess:
1. Messy play encourages creativity.
When a child is given the freedom to create using a variety of materials within an environment that encourages the use of those materials in a variety of ways, the sky is the limit on how he/she will use them.
As parents, most of us want our children to be creative and innovative, yet restricting them so heavily in an effort to keep things nice and tidy is ultimately hampering the creative process (I’m preaching to the choir on this one). By giving them freedom (within reason) and encouragement to create, our kids can show us just what they are fully capable of.
2. Messy play creates lasting memories.
Allowing your child to embrace the essence of childhood and “get messy” will create memories that will last a lifetime! The messy activities and free play are the things my boys remember most. My 8-year old son recently said, “Remember when we made that goopy stuff with shaving cream, Mommy? Can we make that again?” He was referring to the Shaving Cream and Cornstarch activity we did nearly 3 years ago!
Every now and then, put down your mile-long to-do list and get messy with your kids. You won’t regret it!
3. Messy play inspires critical thinking.
Messy play is all about satisfying a child’s natural curiosity. What happens when I do this? Will these two pieces fit together? How will it change when I mix these two colors together? Why is it doing that? These are all questions your child is asking (and sometimes answering) when engaged in messy play…even if a word is never uttered from her mouth. Cause-and-effect relationships, problem solving and critical thinking are all a part of this process. When children are allowed independence in play, they can often far exceed what our original intentions were for them to learn just by being allowed the opportunity to figure it out for themselves.
A study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) agrees and even concluded that open-ended play creates many more opportunities for problem-solving and creativity than direct instruction.
4. Messy play encourages language development.
When we allow our young children to experience new colors and textures, we are in turn opening them up to a new world of vocabulary! Pink! Cold! Squishy! All sorts of adjectives can be learned with a new experience creating. This is especially true for babies and toddlers.
Messy play can also offer opportunities to ask open-ended questions and practice following simple instructions.
5. Messy play fosters a sense of responsibility for cleaning up.
Allowing children to get messy and then incorporating them into the process of cleaning up helps teach responsibility. It is extremely beneficial for children to learn that their actions (making messes) have consequences (cleaning up when finished). My kids are not all that great at this…but we are working on it!
Swiffer products are especially helpful in cleanup! The Swiffer Wet Jet easily cleans up paint off the floor! The Swiffer Sweeper is awesome at picking up dust and tiny particles!
Here are some tips for parents like me who bite their nails during messy play:
- Send your kids outside to make a mess if the weather is nice. Mess Outside + Vitamin D = Win for everyone!
- Have a room in your house that is dedicated to messy play, preferably one where you can shut the door and not look at it when it is not being used. :) We have an unfinished section in our basement that has basically become the kids domain for random toys and projects.
- Try containing the mess in a plastic tub. We do this for many of our sensory activities.
- Use a plastic shower curtain liner as a drop cloth for whatever activity your child is working on. You can easily wipe it off afterwards.
- Allow your child anytime access to some “approved” materials (like paper, crayons, etc.) and then save the messier materials for when you are available to help.
- Use the Swiffer Wet Jet to easily get paint off the floor. The automatic spray helps dissolve the paint and makes cleaning a cinch!
Check out this video where we surprise a friend of mine with 5 children with a care package from Swiffer:
This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Swiffer (in conjunction with the Mom It Forward Blogger Network). I was compensated for sharing this post.