22-26 August 2022
Children grow their capacity to concentrate, develop hand-eye coordination, expand their communication skills, and learn about different materials and textures. With minds that are naturally curious and hands eager to explore, messy play is satisfying and inspiring for youngsters. Explore the benefits alongside your child, with a range of sensory activities they’re sure to love.
Messy play is essential for early childhood development. With opportunities to explore different sensory materials, children discover new ways to express themselves and develop confidence in and control of their bodies. There is no “right way” with messy play. Studies show that the benefits for development lie in the open-ended nature of play, as children follow their own creative processes, practise new skills, solve problems, and share with others the wonder of exploring with their senses.
For children, messy play is liberating, fun and fully absorbing. Naturally curious, children show high levels of concentration and engagement as they explore with their senses, which heightens their learning experience. From a child’s perspective, messy play is magical – full of excitement and pure joy.
Messy play stimulates children’s curiosity, fuels their imaginations and offers new outlets for self-expression. Different materials and tools present new challenges and ideas, and through exploration and experimentation, children develop confidence and self-esteem.
Promotes physical development
As children explore with their hands and try out new tools and instruments, they develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Through practising and mastering new skills, they gain confidence in and control of their bodies.
Encourages communication and social skills
Messy play supports positive interactions. When children share their sensory experience with others, they’re encouraged to tell stories, take turns, negotiate, explain ideas and bond over their shared fun. These interactions support language development and social skills.
Provides new experiences
Messy play provides new sensory experiences. Through open-ended exploration, children learn about different materials and their properties, and investigate how substances can be mixed, manipulated and changed.
Strengthens your connection
Messy play offers an opportunity to forget about the washing and dishes, and to play and bond with your child. Saying yes to messy play, you’re offering your child an experience that is fun and inspiring, and they will love sharing it with you.
Offers fun and relaxation
Messy play can be relaxing as well as liberating for adults. With household demands put aside, rolling playdough beneath your hands can be a calming exercise. Messy play is also an opportunity to ‘let go’ and have fun, making swirls with finger paint or dipping your toes into slime.
Presents new ideas
Exploring a range of messy play activities is inspiring for adults, as they see the fun and learning that even the simplest materials can provide, and pick up new ideas to try at home.
Allows you to socialise
With your child absorbed in the play, here is an opportunity for you to connect with other adults. A chance to talk and laugh and, if you like, get messy.
The mess isn’t at your house!
The paint stains won’t be on your curtains and the playdough won’t be stuck in your carpet, so there’s no reason not to embrace messy play. Of course, you may be inspired to try it out again when you get home.
Playcentre offers a range of messy play activities for your child. Delve into an array of messy play offerings, from paint and playdough, to a sand and clay, to slime and gloop. This is an opportunity for you to come and visit your local Playcentre and see what it is all about.
Mums, dads, and all whānau including grandparents, aunties and uncles, and other caregivers are welcome to attend Playcentre with their children aged 0-6 years.
We have over 400 Playcentres throughout New Zealand. To find your closest centre please put your address into ‘Find a centre’ here.
Once you have found your local centre (Find a Centre | Playcentre). In the centre profile it shows their open days and times and contact details. Spaces are limited, so please let the centre know which day you would like to visit so they can expect you!
The first 3 visits are free so you can visit your local Playcentres and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family.
If you would like to enrol: Playcentre is free and is subsidised by the New Zealand Ministry of Education. However, some centres do request a donation or small fee per term.
If you cannot make a visit during Playcentre messy play week, feel welcome to visit any time. New members are always welcome and every Playcentre offers 3 free visits.
With over 400 centres throughout Aotearoa there is one near you.
The friendships you build (parents and kids)… and of course the kids have full access to messy play and it’s not at your house!!!
“My children have a whole village of like-minded parents who know their every likes and dislikes as if they were their own children, and I have beautiful friends who are like sisters and taught me how to be a mum! I am forever grateful for my village.”