LOCAL NEWS

Childhood development experts say ‘messy play’ is important for babies and toddlers

Apr 20, 2022, 7:47 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:35 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — It is no secret, little kids get messy! While a parent’s instinct may be to clean up the chaos, experts say letting them get dirty as they play and explore the world is key to their development.

Alicia Varner has seen the benefits of letting her older daughters explore though touch. She said they are more independent and are not afraid to try new things.

“I think they learn just so much by exploring and getting to feel and experience different textures,” she said. “They are a little less timid, they are more willing to try new foods because they are not scared of what it will feel like.”

Varner is making it a point to raise her 18-month-old with the same principles.

“We just learn new things through what we are touching, especially at this age,” she said.

Holy Cross Ministries “Teacher as Parents” program coordinator, Miriam Garcia, said from birth to about 5 years old playing through touch enhances a child’s sensory development. She encourages parents to let their little ones use their hands during everyday activities, like eating.

“Let’s say it’s grabbing a banana. I just grab the texture. I feel the texture and then I put it into my mouth. I’m just making this connection like ‘okay, this is my food, this is goes into my mouth,’” she said.

Garcia said through these different experiences, important connections are created in a child’s brain. She said studies have shown these simple activities in the early years can have a profound impact later on in life.

“You can see these kids are more independent and more driven to just go and explore because they feel safe and they have all this background behind them,” Garcia said.

Varner admits, at times cleaning up after little ones can be overwhelming but she never lets that get in the way of their growth.

“Sometimes I have to learn to let go of the cleanliness, the organization and just let them play and have fun,” Varner said.

Her advice to parents who may be weary of letting their children get messy during playtime: let their kids take the lead.

“I think if they’re showing some interest, you have got to run with it,” Varner said. “Let them take the lead! Let them experience all the fun things, even if you don’t feel like they are ready for it.”

For more ideas and resources on how to help your child explore through ‘messy play’, visit https://5b45kids.com.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE -- This Feb. 8, 2017, photo, Utah State Crime Lab Director Jay Henry holds a sexual assault ev...
Daniella Rivera

Utah abortion laws unclear on reporting, verification process for sexual assault victims

Utah abortion bans require law enforcement and physicians to work together to help victims of sexual assault who are seeking abortion care, but KSL Investigators found the state has not established a uniform process to ensure that happens.
1 day ago
(Debbie Worthen/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

Two boys on a bike critically injured in South Jordan crash

Police say two children are in critical condition after an SUV driver hit them while they were in the bike lane on 11400 South in South Jordan.
1 day ago
Ormond Construction crews install secondary water meters in a subdivision in Woods Cross for the We...
Keira Farrimond and Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Metering Utah’s secondary water may help overuse in drought

During the driest months of the year, Utahns' yards can be a primary culprit for water overuse but there's one thing some water districts are seeing make a big difference in how much customers use: secondary water meters.
1 day ago
...
Candice Madsen, KSL TV

A more perfect Union: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman discusses the Constitution

At a troubled time in American politics, one man has a unique perspective, having been at the center of several key turning points.
1 day ago
FILE The views from Frey Peak in Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. (Larry D....
Carter Williams, Deseret News

‘Art is a good teacher’: New public exhibit draws attention to the drying Great Salt Lake

Jacob Brooks' latest painting is quite simple, so simple that his 3-year-old son can understand the message Brooks is trying to convey: trying to save the Great Salt Lake.
1 day ago
Ogden police blocking off roads of Ogden-Weber Technical College after a bomb threat call....
Michael Houck

Police respond to bomb threat at Ogden-Weber Technical College, no device found

Ogden-Weber Technical College closed for the day after a bomb threat was made toward the campus Wednesday afternoon. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Childhood development experts say ‘messy play’ is important for babies and toddlers