Messy play/Korihori pōrehe isn’t just fun,
but educational too!

Messy play is an important part of learning, as tamariki get their hands into slime, foam, mud, paint, or whatever! There’s a genuine sensory experience as they swirl things around, manipulate, pull, and squeeze whichever texture they’re working with. It’s great fun but also a way to help develop motor skills and connection with the senses. So let’s get out the gloop!

Hand-eye coordination, growing understanding of quantities as tamariki collect and pour or fill substances, appreciating how different materials feel and the different textures and how they behave – it’s all there in our fabulously messy play.

Sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty…

When you put your hands in something like slime, or mud, or paint – how does it feel? Does it run through your fingers or hold its shape? What are its properties? That’s why messy play extends across all of the strands of New Zealand’s national early chilhood curriculum Te Whāriki.

It states… “Messy play might also support children’s development in the Exploration strand, where children gain confidence in, and control of their own bodies, including active exploration with all the senses and the use of tools, materials and equipment to extend skills.”

It’s also a great way to stimulate tamariki discovery, encourage their sense of fun, and often to help calm and relax them. There is, after all, nothing like moving your hands around in a big trough of slime!

Activities like finger painting not only highlight the sensory elements, but, alongside the creative components of doing a painting, educate about how colours mix together to make new colours, and the effect a thick or thin layer of paint has on the intensity of the final artwork.

Slime and gloop are popular at most kindergartens.

It’s also a great way for kaiako and whānau to interact and communicate with children.

Using words like ‘slimy’ or ‘goopy’, ‘wet’ or ‘lumpy’, ‘runny’ or even ‘yucky’ not only extend tamariki’s vocabulary, but provide opportunities for further discussion and learning. Perhaps there’s a story to be made up or told in conjunction with the play. Maybe measuring and pouring an amount from one container to another helps explains some of the fundamentals of maths. What happens if you mix different substances together? This is great for discovery, exploration, and experimentation.

Of course, we also think a sturdy apron, suitable tray for whatever you’re using and an extra dose of supervision are all good ideas.

One of the advantages of having big backyards is the opportunity to have mud kitchens, or sludge up the sandpit.
There’s no denying that most children LOVE messy play.

And the best bit is there’s no mess at home to clean up!

That’s what so many of our parents tell us. Sometimes, they hesitate to get out the gunk or the shaving cream, even the paints, or the hose – because with busy lives, it adds a whole other level of complication. At kindergarten, not only are we used to all this, but we understand why it’s so important (and part of the Te Whāriki curriculum) and what it contributes to a child’s learning and development.

So bring on the tamariki, and bring on the paint, water, shaving cream and slime!

Arrange a time to come in and see our kindergarten for yourself, get to meet our kaiako and see the kindy for yourself.
Get in touch if you have any questions or want to know more. We’re here and always happy to give you the answers you need.