Whenever I turn around, I have another pile of something my toddler has dragged out of her room or a cabinet; however, not all messes resulting from toddler activities are the same. In fact, if I look closely, there are hidden benefits for her and bonding opportunities for me. Here are five messes I don’t mind my toddler to make:
When my toddler pulls out all of her books and starts to look at the pictures, I melt. She talks to herself about the books and essentially retells the story in her own words. I know she has a love of books and I am thrilled she loves looking at the pictures and learning. So while there is a humongous pile of books strewn hither and yon, I usually just pick out a book, then pick her up and ask, “How about this one?”
2. Outside Dirt:
When my toddler wants to play outside, I let her play! Let her get dirty, muddy, and nearly unrecognizable. There are so many good benefits to getting dirty, not the least of which is building their immune systems…and their imaginations.
Legos are no longer just the teeny tiny ones that cause indescribable pain when stepped upon. We now have the chunky ones as well as large building blocks. My daughter pushes her block and Lego buckets to wherever I am and unloads them. She begins building towers and creatures and then, the best part, knocks them all down. She is also developing spatial reasoning and geometry skills, while having fun!
This might sound like a strange one, but let me explain. One day, my daughter took out all of her shoes and tried them on…one at a time. The ones with laces, she wrestled with the laces. The ones with Velcro, she tried to understand how it worked. The “princess” ones, she hit them against the wall and made various noises. When I saw how much she was really learning and exploring through her shoes, I walked away and let her play.
5. Cooking: Chock full of fun…and mess!
Whether we are making cookies, pizza dough, or sautéing vegetables, I always enjoy the “help” I get. Each and every time we cook, I learn more about my toddler. She measures the ingredients, spills the baking soda and draws in it or peels the outer paper off the onions.
Share with us… What messes in your home make you smile?