Let’s Get Messy?

9 March 2017

Katy Wilson

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Lead Artist Katy Wilson shares her thoughts about the wonders and the challenges of messy play

In Edinburgh, where me and my kids live I feel like we lack a pop-in kids art studio a place to be really messy and bold and creative, we have started to create this at WHALE.

So far with the group of parents and babies we have been playing together with Gluck, clay, fizzy potions , paint , screen printing, and today at WHALE we filled a dust sheet with paint and let the wee ones ( and the big ones) explore it in whatever way they felt like.

It looked like this:


Everyone had a great time together, rolling around, laughing – spreading paint with our hands and feet and backs. We loved the colours too.

I was watching the most recent Ok go ! music video with my 3 year old and 1 year old – they were transfixed!

Watch the OK GO! music video here

When they pop balloons – the 3 year old squealed – “they are having so much fun!”

And I thought – wow you haven’t really been able to get that ridiculously painty have you?! We must rectify this for you and the other little people in our lives.

It’s easier when the weather is nice to go outside and get messy. When it’s winter and kids have already turned your flat upside down – I don’t know how many parents could bear to say, “right kids, it’s MESSY PLAY TIME!”

But here’s what the experts say:

Messy play is designed with children’s natural curiosity in mind.  It encourages a positive approach to new experiences.  There is no “right” way for children to do messy play.  This builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Through messy play, children can develop concentration, problem solving and planning.  Working with others fosters self-respect for others.  It also presents opportunities for making relationships.  Messy play can offer an outlet for feelings, experiences and thoughts

Next week zero gravity and filled paint balloons, ok? 😉