I posted this photo to my Facebook account the other day. Really didn’t think to much of it until a few moms mentioned how they hate stickers. It got me thinking about how this time around in raising my granddaughter things are different than when I had my eight children in tow.
Back then, I hated stickers. I really didn’t care much for most messy play unless it took place out side. When there was messy place I would often hover watching the clock until it had ticked long enough that I could swoop in a clean at least some portion of the said mess up.
As an older parent I see messy play for what it is… learning. She is peeling the stickers from the page. Something a week or so ago she would beg me to do for her. Her hand eye coordination is far improved. She can do it her self now. Yes, she stuck them to my table and it is going to require some peeling and a hot wet hand towel placed over them. But for fifteen minutes she was still and happy while I did dishes. She will also learn to help clean her messes and for the most part she is happy to sit and help because she has also figured out if she chooses not to help there will be no more sticker play for some time. So she is a mess maker and most often times a willing helper to clean her messes up.
Children need to make messes. They need to explore the world hands on. They need to paint and color. Splash and stomp in puddles, They need to feel play doh between their tiny fingers with out being told no, no, no, stop making a mess. Because, messes clean but you can not go backwards in life and relive what you lost in avoiding these messes that are dripping with laughter and curiosity.I love seeing her face light up when she figures out a task for her self for that very first time. When she plays with some new messy thing and she is right in there focused and busy. I love seeing her make huge gains in language as she learns new words that describe what she is feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting and experiencing.
Really watch your child the next time they are knee deep in mud serving you plates of mud cakes and a side of dirt soup. Watch as they pour, scoop, splash and splatter. Then remind your self that this is childhood and they are washable. While your at it…Join in.