I’ve done my fair share of toddler laundry, plunked my daughter in the bath mid-day, and silently cursed her as I scrubbed paint off of my kitchen floor. Kids are crazy messy, and as a slightly compulsive tidier, the constant cleaning-up of disasters is driving me slightly batty. So I keep trying to remind myself why it’s so good for kid to create mess after mess. Turns out, there’s more than a few reasons.
Strengthens the five senses
Sensory activities are usually messy activities. Crafts, games, and kid-friendly experiments that fire up the five senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing) can be amazing learning opportunities. When we experience something with more than one sense it creates a more vivid memory – therefore a more worthwhile learning experience.
Helps use their imagination
Open-ended activities like painting, lego, or playing dress-up are bound to create a bit of a tornado in your home. But they can be great imagination triggers and give your kid an opportunity to build their own game or creation.
Teaches cause and effect
My daughter once spent a very rainy afternoon jumping in mud puddle after mud puddle. She had an absolute blast, but once the adrenaline started to die down she realized her rain boots were filled to the brim and she was freezing. After a short meltdown, and a good old mid-day bath, she realized that muddy puddles come with consequences. Will she never jump in a puddle again? Of course not. But she’s a little more careful to take it one puddle at a time now.
Develops motor skills
At a certain point you have to let go. Let your baby feed themselves that bowl of spaghetti using their chubby hands. Let your toddler get the hang of using scissors by cutting up construction paper into a million teeny tiny pieces. And let your kid come home caked in dirt after riding their bike around the block all by themselves. We all have to start somewhere.
I used to hide the finger paints in our house. I dreaded the clean-up process and finding random day-glo fingerprints around the house for days after. But my daughter loves finger painting, and I’ve got to admit, I love helping and watching her finger paint. Sometimes you have to sacrifice cleanliness for a good time.
So bust out the finger paints, jump in the muddy puddles, and do some weird and crazy home science experiments. Just be sure to keep the bath running – you’re going to need it : )