Why Messy Play is Key

'To mess about is to play with something and it is through play - which is part of the creative process' (Duffy 1998) - that children learn and develop. Children are being creative when they use materials in new ways, combine previously unconnected materials and make discoveries that are new to them, and messy play enables children to do all these things. It is this aspect of messy play that we want to emphasise, and our definition of messy play at Baby Room Nursery Schools is: play that emphasises the active exploration of materials and their properties.

Messy play involves:

* children using all their senses in the process of exploration, especially the sense of touch

* offering children plenty of opportunity to mould and manipulate materials

* not having a focus on making or producing something.

This sort of play is important because its lack of a focus on making or producing something leaves the child free to explore all sorts of possibilities. It taps into children's innate curiosity about the world around them and their strong desire to explore and find out more.

For ideas on messy play that you can do at home click here

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