Babies and children learn and develop through play, but especially through unstructured, exploratory play. Messy play focuses on exploring and experimenting with different materials without any end goal such as to build or make something. This allows young children to make their own discoveries using their senses, curiosity and knowledge. Because messy and sensory play is all about exploring, there’s not right or wrong. This means that any child can participate, whatever their ability, and benefit from it. It’s also a very sociable activity, but one that doesn’t rely on words. Children can play together and share their discoveries without needing to explain things verbally. However, it can also be a way of encouraging speech, for example by describing sensations, textures etc., and helping your child build their vocabulary. This week in the Pre-school we have had plenty of opportunities for messy play, painting and printing with bubble wrap, finger painting, hand prints, bubble painting with straws and water colour paints. Other activities included rice in the tuff tray for more sensory play and peas and tweezers for developing fine physical skills.