Horizon Mooney At Horizon Education Centers, we are committed to the development of well-rounded children. We know this means introducing academic concepts as well as working on motor skills and behavior. In our programs, we help children practice these important developmental milestones as part of our Toddler Care program. As important as school subjects are, young children and toddlers also learn significantly about themselves, their world and others through unstructured and even messy play.

If you’re the parent of a toddler, you’ve probably spent a lot of time cleaning up and can't imagine why you’d want to encourage your little one to make a mess but "8 Reasons to Let Your Kids Get Messy" explains just why (and how) allowing messes can be beneficial.

Establish Rules

One way to make imaginative yet messy play less of a headache is to tell your child at the beginning that he or she is responsible for helping with the cleanup because "…it's usually easier to motivate a child to clean up play things when he's aware of the rules and expectations from the start."

Instead of catching your child making a mess, you can make playtime easier if you prepare and set things up for planned messes ahead of time. For outdoor playtime, create a space in your yard that you've gone over to make sure is safe, or give your child a sandbox and toys. Dress your child in clothes that can get muddy or covered in paint if playtime is indoors.

Encourage Exploration

Playing around in the dirt, making arts and crafts, and mixing together cooking experiments are all activities that help your child figure out what he or she enjoys best. As your child continues in school, certain subjects will be of more interest than others but it is this early exploration time that may include messy behavior that may shape a budding interest in chemistry, engineering, or culinary arts that may take root as a toddler.