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Preschool Language Development with Messy Play

Messy play supports your child's language skills and vocabulary growth

Do you remember your child’s first word? Maybe it was “mama” or “dada”. Or maybe it was “Sue,” short for Aunt Susan who secretly bribed the baby with treats while repeating her name over and over again until your little one got it right. Either way, preschool language development is such an exciting time in the lives of families! Messy Play Kits wants to help support the facilitation of this process. 

Sensory play and language development are two key priorities in the creation of all Messy Play Kits products. We want to support you, the parent or caregiver, in your kiddo’s linguistic growth by providing language development activities for preschoolers.  

Below are a few tips on how to easily integrate natural dialogue with sensory play activities that will promote preschool language development, while having loads of fun! Tips like these are also included in the instructions for each Messy Play Kit or Sensory Bin, so you get specific tips related to the particular activity right when you need them!

The Connection Between Sensory Play and Language Development

Pre-literacy Skills 

A great way to combine sensory play and language development is to narrate your child's actions as they engage in a Messy Play™ activity! This is especially helpful for younger children. 

Try describing what they're doing: "You mixed blue and yellow foam together. Look at how they're mixing to turn green!" 

Or, explain what the materials feel like as you explore them: "This goo is soooo cold and slippery!". 

Think of this as "sportscasting." It helps provide the children words to their actions and environment. You can narrate multi-step processes to help break things down for them too: 

"First, we lay down the sheet. Then we grab out the bin, and set out our base material and toys! Now we're ready to play!"

You can also teach language skills in combination with spatial awareness by using positional words and phrases: "The rake is on top of the rice!” “Where did you bury the dinosaurs? Oh, they’re under the cornmeal!” “You put the scoopers on the side of the bin.”

In speaking through activities, you are teaching your kiddos description words, as well as focusing their attention on their actions and associated effects.

Remember to use open-ended questions and phrases to inspire conversations. "I wonder" is an excellent phrase to use, as it doesn't put pressure on the child to answer immediately. 

Example: "I wonder what would happen if we added water to the volcano...? Or "I wonder how many scoops of water beads it will take to fill up the bowl?" 

An alternative idea is that you ask your child to tell you what they're doing. They may choose to model your example and be descriptive, or they may want to make up a story to accompany their play! This tip encourages creative mental processing, language formation, and physical movement all at the same time while playing. All necessary functions to appropriate development while simultaneously having fun!


Learning New Vocabulary 

Each messy play experience can expose your child to a whole new set of words! Be descriptive as you talk about the materials and the properties you observe. Is it warm or freezing? Heavy or light? What about the colors, the textures, and the shapes? Experiencing the meaning of these words firsthand will help your child to understand them. There's a whole world of descriptive possibilities in every Sensory Bin or Messy Play Kit

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Isn’t it so cool that sensory play and language development are so closely related? Check out some of the products below that leave lots of room in the imagination to create fun descriptors and stories that support the preschool language development of your child!

The best part of a Sensory Bin Subscription is that each bin comes with a different base material, providing you with ample materials for which to use new, enticing vocabulary words! Check out the products below and click here to subscribe to receive a new activity box each month!

Monster Sensory Bin

Galactic Sensory Bin

Dinosaur Excavation Sensory Bin

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Gardening Sensory Bin Under the Sea Messy Play Kit

The best way to enhance your child's language skills with messy play is to sign up for a monthly subscription and receive a new activity box each month!

Sign up here!