Messy activities are wonderful for fostering a child’s growth across many of the developmental areas including, physical, social, emotional, intellectual, language/communication and sensory.
Some of the benefits of offering messy play and activities to children include:
- Strengthening of fine motor skills
- Helping to develop imagination and creativity
- Sensory awareness – touch, taste, smell
- Expressing self through use of different materials and touch
- Opportunities to investigate, explore, experiment and build
- Introduction of basic science concepts –exploration, experimenting, cause and effect
- Children can observe and marvel at the outcomes of their efforts
- Help to develop concentration and problem solving skills
- Provide opportunities to concentrate, speak and listen as well as observe
- Provide an outlet for feelings and thoughts
- Provides opportunities to explore and work with friends
Although I love offering messy play activities it is still important that I am able to clean our craft area quickly as we also use this table for our lunch, morning and afternoon tea and I can often have babies crawling on the floor too.
And when you have 5 children who all want your attention and you are on your own; cleaning must be quick, simple and something the children can help with at times!
I often get told that I must love mess due to the play experiences I offer children in my care as well as my own twins…I’ll let you in on a secret, I really don’t, I am a bit of a neat freak perfectionist which as you can imagine doesn’t really work well for a parent and educator!
However, as long as I have a cleaning system and a few strategies that work for me during the day I’m not likely to get stressed about a messy floor during play.
I use a carpet/floor sweeper during the day so I don’t need to pull out the heavy vacumn all the time and have stray cords around young children. But often areas of the floor and play mats will also need mopping especially if I have babies and toddlers in care that day. I usually try to use a near dry mop with a little spray of water and detergent to get me through until I can safely haul out the large mop and bucket. It can be a little tiresome though as I need to keep children off the areas while wet and it doesn’t always do the best job.
So when I was asked to review the new Dettol floor cleaning system and wipes I was very interested. It is absolutely perfect for keeping things clean between my big weekend ‘vacumn and mop’! I was pleasantly surprised with how quick and easy it is to use and that it actually disinfects the area as it cleans.
Just 2 minutes effort and your floors will look shiny and there will be a pleasant fragrance…and you can adjust your slipping housekeeper halo! I’ve even started using it as a broom at times to as the swivel head makes it so easy to pull all that ‘wonderful’ Christmas glitter into the one area (and then hide in a corner till later).
So let’s see it in action…we recently began making Christmas decorations which means glue, mess and glitter….but fun too I promise! I think our recycled bottle bells look so special hanging up that I just had to share with you.
Recycled Bottle Christmas Bells
Here’s what you need…
- A collection of washed and dried plastic soft drink, water or juice bottles. I used some small and some large, just use whatever you have in the recycle tub!
- Some coloured foil, glitter, tinsel or any Christmassy type collage materials you wish to use. Shiny is good though as this helps the bells catch the light beautifully outside.
- Some paste (I just use my cornflour paste recipe) and kids PVA glue mixed together
- Brushes for painting the glue onto the bottles
Here’s what you do…
If you are doing this activity with under 5’s it is a good idea to prepare the bells in advance. Simply cut off the bottom and then cut 2cm or so strips about 2 thirds of the way up the bottle towards the neck of the bottle as you can see in the pictures below.
Get yourself a cuppa, settle in a comfy spot and using your fingers roll each strip up to form curls. I promise it doesn’t take long! If you are doing this activity with older children they can enjoy doing this part of the activity with you.
Lay out a tray with some sparkly goodies, paste and brushes and then let them decorate their bell however they want to! This activity kept my 3 yr olds busy for quite some time and Miss Teen had just as much fun creating something special too.
I have to say it did really well, it didn’t pick up all the foil pieces but it did an amazing job in a short space of time and acted as both broom and mop. Of course my twosome had to join in and test it out for themselves!
In the space of a week the Dettol floor cleaning system has become an essential part of my daily clean toolkit. It has been making life easier for this tired Mum and helps me to present a clean and hygienic home for kids to play in and other parents to inspect!
I’m happy to recommend any product that makes our busy days as parents or educators just a little bit easier…while still making us look like the perfect little super parents that we are!