Wednesday, September 2, 2009
THE VALUE OF MESSY PLAY
Generally - when you are four years old all the best things to do are messy.
Our first born DID NOT enjoy getting mucky. Once I enthusiastically suggested papier mache. He positively recoiled as I explained the wonderful process.
He joined in with the ripping of the paper, carefully wiping his hands down his trousers when he noticed the printing ink had slightly smudged his hands.
He stood back and watched as I made up the flour and water paste, interested in the science of the matter, but horrified that he might have to touch it.
I happily slapped layers of gloopy newspaper onto a balloon while he had a "well, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself" look on his face.
During this time his little brother woke up and I knew we'd better move the process outside.
Wise mummy. Suddenly we resembled the old song "When Father Painted the Parlour" - paste and paper everywhere. Not much on the balloon though.
Little brother needed a hose off afterwards - but he was used to that and joyfully turned that into part of the game.
Mucky Boy's famous line when he was little came about when he was walking right along the side of a deep muddy drop down to the water. His Nana said "Come away from the edge - you'll fall in and get all wet". His chirpy reply: "But that doesn't mind!"
These two boys are now 16 and 14. Not much has changed.
Mr 16 invents and constructs and uses his mind in wonderful ways. Very rarely will he get muddy - usually only as a result of rushing into a deep mud puddle to rescue one of his little brothers.
Mr 14 happily zooms along on his bicycle, oblivious to the buckets of mud spraying up the back of his jersey. He's the guy to call on when the goats escape as he fearlessly throws himself on them to catch them. And if he misses - ah well, it's only mud. That doesn't mind.
So after a few lovely rainy days and lots of mud and wet sawdust on the gardens which Miss almost 7, Mr 4 and Mr almost 2 love to run through and throw themselves in, an afternoon spent with Play Doh is an easy option for "messy play".
I can't even begin to comprehend the benefits of children being able to squish and mould and imagine and make things. Ideas spinning around their heads, trying something out, squashing it all up again to try another idea. The joy and innocence children have in just PLAYING! They don't sit for 10 minutes looking at the dough, telling themselves that it's no use even starting because it will never come out the way they imagine. What freedom!
But it's funny how when we came to put the Play Doh away there wasn't quite as much. And what was that blue lump the puppy was chewing?