Saturday, 21 July 2012

Get ready, get messy!


Now when I started this activity my intention was to provide a stimulating and educational play session where we would learn about seeds and how things grow. In reality what took place was a mud bath! I think Dylan is still too young for this kind of thing but we had great fun nonetheless. I just used indoor potting soil that I already had and the seeds are cat grass which can be bought easily from any garden centre. I chose cat grass as it grows very quickly (only 2 to 3 days from planting to growth) and I naively thought we would actually have a chance to let it grow! Firstly we raked the soil and played around with digging and transferring it from pot to pot which is right up Dylan's street so this step lasted a while. Then we sprinkled over the packet of seeds, then put them back in the packet, then sprinkled them again, then put.... I think i've made my point! Dylan loved examining the seeds by squeezing and pinching them and when I showed him he could push them down in the soil so they dissapeared his face lit up and he eagerly copied something which i'm sure must help with hand eye co-ordination.

The next step was without a doubt the cause of my downfall! I decided that it would be a really good idea to let Dylan water the seeds while I explained how we had to give the seeds a little drink to help them grow. A toddlers definition of "a little" is very different from my own and that endearing need toddlers have to repeat an activity which is enjoyable is something I had not taken into account. Dylan loved watering the seeds and I was forced to fill the watering can 3 times at which point the seeds began floating and I became fully aware that my "lesson" had not gone as planned!

Unwilling to add anymore water to the mix we then began pouring the water back into the can and re-watering the soil this activity kept Dylan's attention for a very substantial time and really
wasn't as messy as you might imagine. Saying that my partner who was home at the time was not quite as relaxed about the whole thing, he has been present at all other messy sessions and I have never seen him react the way he did to the mud! I had not anticipated this reaction and I can only assume it was psychological but something about the mud in the house made him very uncomfortable so I decided to throw him in the deep end! Now I didn't do this because i'm mean (well not entirely) I did this because messy play is important as it introduces your child to a huge range of textures and helps develop important motor skills. If a child senses a negative vibe from a parent during an activity such as this then they will begin to develop anxiety and associate mess with an unpleasant experience and in the future will avoid getting messy altogether. So to avoid this I persuaded (read- forced) Andy to assist Dylan in exploring the mud with his feet, letting him squelch it between his toes and gently splash it inside the trough. I had to keep reminding Andy not to constantly try and wipe any mud of his trousers or hands but in the end I think he started to actually enjoy it! I know for a fact he enjoyed the final step...the shower!

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