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The Sensory Lab

The Sensory Lab/ Messy Play is made of all different tactile components to allow children to foster exploration, imagination, and curiousity. 

Messy play sensory experiences help children to understand their senses. By exploring how things feel, smell, and taste, messy play nurtures awareness and understanding of the world that surrounds them and what they like and dislike.

 

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Children naturally use their senses to explore their environment. While the five senses – taste, smell, sight, sound and touch – are well known, there are also internal senses such as balance, position, and movement. Messy play activities differ from other types of play as the emphasis on the senses amplifies the activity. Messy play also supports scientific thinking, which involves inquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching, and investigating. 

Why is it important? 

Fine and gross motor skills

Messy play helps children pick up objects, and allow textures and materials to be molded and flow through their hands and fingers. This type of play helps develop your child’s fine-motor skills – those little movements and muscles in the hands used to hold and control a pencil and cutlery, thread a needle or tie shoelaces. For very young children and babies, exploring objects through touch can often end up with the item in their mouths! Plan for this and make sure the materials are edible. 

Hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, body control, and balance

Hand-eye coordination is when your child tracks the movements of their hands with their eyes, which is essential for reading and decoding. Spatial awareness is the ability of a child to understand where they are in relation to objects or where objects or structures are in relation to each other. Body control and balance is knowing where your body parts are in three-dimensional space. 

Your child will be able to use their imagination in order to create shapes, forms, and objects in an exploratory way. 

Problem-solving

With messy play, your child can increase their concentration and problem-solving ability. They begin to select and use resources appropriately and often see a task through from start to finish. Early science experiments are found in messy play, such as cause and effect and changing solids to liquids. 

Language development

Words such as “gooey, crispy, slimy and soft” can be used when your child explores their surroundings by touching different materials. You may hear a few “ickys and yucks” too! This is a good sign as they are starting to make decisions on how things feel. Some materials do genuinely feel “icky”.

Supporting your child’s language development, helping them understand how things feel and how to describe them is aided by adult prompts. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling are all ways children learn to think, feel, and compare their environment and the objects within it. Using multiple senses at the same time stimulates learning and language development. 

Building relationships with others

When you child plays with a sibling or a friend, they will chatter along quite happily as they explore the messy materials and their senses are introducing new words into their vocabulary. An opportunity to play alongside or together is a valuable social experience for your child. Learning how to share the workspace, equipment, and experiences is an excellent skill to transfer into later life. Children learn to trust others and cooperate with kindness. 

 

Cognitive development

Messy play for babies and children helps developing brains bridge nerve connections and assists children in learning differences and similarities. The use of sensory material creates hands-on self-directed play, encouraging discovery and development. This approach appeals to children who have different learning and thinking styles.

Inclusive play

Because there’s no right or wrong way to engage in sensory-rich messy play, it’s particularly beneficial to children with special needs and those who enjoy a practical approach to learning. 

Article taken from https://playmatters.org.au/blog/the-benefits-of-messy-play. Thanks for the great read!

At The Main Street Greenery we practice sanitary operations with messy play and expose the children to a wide range of senses including Jelly, Slime, Water, Rice, Objects for exploring, Spaghetti, Paint, Toys and much more. 

Children can be booked on our "book now tab", can walk in anytime and pay over the counter or can have 1 or 2-hour support sessions with one of our NDIS-qualified staff and learn new skills at our space and billed through NDIS. 

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