It’s not exactly breaking news that babies and toddlers learn by listening to us, but how often do we really listen to them? Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to find yourself engaged in hundreds of new experiences but be unable to talk about them, share how you feel and ask questions?
Messy play is a fantastic way of introducing children to unfamiliar experiences as it bypasses the constraints of language; we can use our faces to express surprise/happiness/disgust when we squidge some jelly between our toes, we can use onomatopoeia or ‘sound words’ as we ‘splat’ a paintbrush on the wall, ‘sploosh’ whisks in the water tray, or ‘plop’ a brick into the gloop.
More importantly, at Messy Monkeys, we make a point of encouraging experimentation and congratulating all of our children on how they choose to play. Valuing their ‘choice’ is an essential part of listening; if one of our monkeys chooses to paint their ball of play dough a new colour we would never tell them ‘no’…why should we when it’s a perfectly marvelous way of exploring wet and dry textures as well as colour mixing ?! By offering options rather than restrictions,
Messy Monkeys sessions place value on children’s opinions, giving them an opportunity to organise their own play, acknowledging their decisions, and encouraging them to tell or show us what they have learnt… making as loud a splat as they like!