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If you’re anything like me, then the thought of a messy art project with young kids makes you a little nervous. The idea of glue, paint, markers and stickers coupled with little ones in your home makes you cringe, just a bit.
But for Mother’s Day this year, I encouraged my children to create something special for their out-of-town grandmother. I typically preplan our art projects so we’re all doing the same project, even though we get to add our individual flare to it. I love the Enchanted Learning website for inspiration and ideas on craft (and other) projects to do at home.
I recently organized our arts and crafts supplies into a nifty art organizer with a handle. I purchased it at Michael’s but I couldn’t find it on their site. Here’s something similar I found on Amazon if you’re interested in getting organized. Even though this is technically for tool organization, many of the reviews said this box is great for organizing any small items, like legos and craft supplies.
My motivation was the thousands of tissue paper squares I had purchased a while ago that would not stay nice and neat in their little cardboard box. The art organizer allowed me to neatly store the tissue paper squares and a bunch of other craft supplies, like stickers, beads and pom poms.
With our art supplies nice and neatly organized, I was feeling brave for this free flowing art project for grandma. I brought out the art organizer, glitter glue and washable markers and let the kids start creating. They had a blast!
I know I should encourage my children do more free form art. When I see their happy faces and their focused energy, my anxiety over the mess they are making starts to decrease. Children love art. They love to create and to get messy. They were born to create.
Being creative allows children to develop their senses.
My sensory-seeking son loves getting messy and will often spend hours playing in the dirt just outside our house. On the other extreme is my little who usually requests that I immediately clean his hands any time they are “sticky.” Messy free form art is great for both sensory-seeking and sensory-defensive children.
Sensory Play is Essential for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory play provides children with the tactile and proprioceptive input they need to develop these senses. It exposes them to different textures and allows them to figure out how things work together.
My son with Sensory Processing Disorder has dyspraxia. This means he has a low awareness of where his body is in space and has trouble sensing where his body begins and ends. Another way to describe it is that he has problems with organizing and planning his movements. Art play allows him to get the sensory input he needs while also giving him the opportunity to develop motor planning skills.
For children with sensory defensiveness issues, messy art allows them to learn to desensitize and regulate their reactions to new sensations.
Sensory Play Helps Hyper Children to Calm Down and Focus
Art is relaxing for children. My older son is often hyperactive and overstimulated by his environment. Free form art is calming, it allows children to sit still for a few minutes, plan their next steps and focus on a self-directed project. My son was able to work on his project for just under an hour.
Both of my children we’re so proud to show off their creations. And I was so proud that I didn’t allow my anxiety over messy art prevent them from being their creative selves.
I just hope their projects dry in time to mail them off to grandma for Mother’s Day!