Yup. This muddy water messy play gets you…a little messy.
And after 90 minutes of pure-play, conversation, and joy, I am going to flag this sensory activity as a muddy water messy play success.
Don’t run away! You know I will give you simple cleanup solutions at the end.
Stick with me, and I’ll walk you through the steps for sensory messy play success where everyone wins. – including YOU!
RELATED: Kids learn a lot through play! Check out our 50+ activities for kids list here.
Let’s begin with why messy play is important.
Messy play allows the whole child to shine.
With messy play, children are deep diving into hands-on learning that allows them to take risks, make predictions, and experiment with texture.
A few years from now, our children will be reading vocabulary words such as capacity, erosion, absorb.
Let’s provide EXPERIENCES now for our children to connect the dots down the road rather than just memorizing a definition on a flashcard.
So just like decorating the cake with shaving cream. This messy play is a hoot!
How do you make a messy play?
This sensory activity began with a simple idea of filling water into the cooler and evolved into so much more.
The truth is, it was my six-year-old that created this “mess.”
After filling the water into the cooler, he came trotting over with a measuring cup full of soil. It can be tempting to stop actions like this that lead to a mess.
But instead, I allowed it, and magic and teamwork emerged.
RELATED: Interested in sensory play, but not quite ready for the mess? START HERE.
How can messy play increase sensory stimulation?
Here, my boys are not only working on sensory stimulation and exploring textures but are also exploring some essential math and science concepts!
In just ONE activity, all of these sensory stimulations are being introduced:
liquids changing shape
trial and error
collaboration and conversations
increasing vocabulary with new discoveries
Did you know that messy play could reach so many levels? All it takes is a simple setup and then allow the thinking to unfold.
Messy play is self-guided and self-directed.
My role is to offer the sensory supplies in our outdoor supply bin and watch the rest unfold.
Seriously, my camera just continued to shoot this epic messy play as I sat in my chair, sittervising the entire activity.
There was more movement, manipulations, discoveries, and critical thinking that would be happening on a worksheet. My friend at Busy Toddler would agree.
Items needed for outdoor sensory play:
How do I clean up the mess from messy play?
Allow me to reassure you, that it is easier than you may think.
The first thing we do is hose everything down. That way, the soil is out of the containers for a clean next use.
We lay the supplies used out in the driveway to dry in the sun.
I have the kids take off their clothes as they enter the house. I hose the clothes down BEFORE entering the washing machine.
When the supplies dry, we scoop them back up and put them in the bucket for next time.
The next time we enter some amazing messy play, the same clothes go back on, and I repeat the same process.
I assure you. The amount of time spent with messy play almost always outweighs the cleanup time by MANY minutes.
I give messy play like these two thumbs up for some serious playtime and mom time on the sidelines watching it all go down.
Now you are ready for some outdoor messy play!
Get out there and fill those buckets as the rest unfolds.