Kids love getting a little messy, as it generally means having a bit of fun. And while you may not love having to clean up the mess afterwards, there are times when it’s worth it: if it means your children get a chance to explore the world in a hands-on, experiential way, instead of passively watching a screen. In fact, active learning is one of the best ways to get your kids out there in the world, so they can find what they’re passionate about and talented at. Don’t worry about the stains that might come from playing in the outdoors or painting a picture: these can always be washed out afterwards. But the rewards and memories of active, fun learning can last a lifetime for your children.
There are loads of great online resources for messy play ideas, but here are just two ideas to get you started:
Science Experiments — Some kids might groan at the thought of science, but it doesn’t always have to be about sitting in a classroom and studying a textbook. In fact, science just means a better way to understanding why and how the world works: why the sky is blue, or how bubbles are formed. Science experiments are great for fostering curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, and many simple, safe ones can be can be performed at home or in your backyard. Create a bubble bomb from just baking soda, vinegar, and water — and your kids will get a thrill from seeing something explode before their very eyes. Or mix together cornflour and water to create a fun goo — and your children will not only love getting their fingers stuck in, but they might start to wonder how something this fun can be formed from such simple things. There’s nothing like an exciting, hands-on science experiment to get your child curious about the world and eager to learn more.
Arts and Crafts Projects — On the other hand, some kids may be artistically inclined, so give them the chance to explore these interests. Childhood is the best time for discovering artistic talents, which can grow into lifelong hobbies or even careers. Regardless, all children love being able to express themselves using a range of materials available: paints, crayons, colored pencils, construction paper, glitter, beads, you name it. Get creative about your art supplies and you can find them in the recycling bin (empty cartons, toilet roll, old magazines, scraps of cloth) or even in nature (feathers, pebbles, leaves, flowers, twigs). And if you look online, there’s loads of ideas for arts and crafts projects to get your children excited — from homemade Christmas cards to sock puppets to paperweights, there’s so many fun things your kids can make to get their creativity fired up.
But it doesn’t stop there: cooking and baking, nature expeditions, group games outdoors, even more. With so many messy play ideas to engage your kids in the world around them, their childhoods won’t feel long enough — and hopefully as they grow up, they’ll keep exploring and learning.