Yesterday at playgroup, we were discussing how as Mums we all have different tolerance levels for mess.
One Mum said, “Playdough, no way, I don’t let my boys play with playdough, it’s too messy.”
Another Mum reflected that pretty much anything goes at her house (within reason). Coincidently, this is also the Mum who filled the water trolley for the first time today (now that the weather is warmer), which the children absolutely loved. So much so that I had to strip Immy off before popping her into the car as her dress was soaked. Now that didn’t bother me at all, it is a short ride home and it is a warm day, and to me it’s just water. As I have shared previously, I think I too rate pretty highly on the ‘mess-o-meter.’
As well as mess, I think we also all have different tolerance levels for noise. I certainly saw evidence of this as a teacher. Some teachers (and unfortunately, some administrators) feel that a quiet (read ‘silent’) classroom indicates that the children are busy learning. I was always of the opinion that a general level of background chatter was normal and healthy, as long as the children were staying ‘on task’ with what they were meant to be achieving.
Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Children learn through doing. Doing, at least where young children are involved, usually involves mess. Whether it be debris, dirt or disarray, it can all just feel like mess. But it’s not, its doing and playing and learning.
And all of this learning is much less effective in isolation. We not only learn by doing but also by showing and telling and demonstrating to others. Learning that is shared in this way is not only good for the pupil but also for the child tutor – as knowledge is shared, it is reinforced.
I find it hard to believe that children can learn to the best of their ability without some element of mess and noise.
As a Mum, how do you rate on the mess-o-meter?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Tammy James says
As for noise, with three boys, I've had to change my noise tolerance. Yep I was that teacher in the class with a quiet room for reading and work ( discussions were different of course). Time and place for me now.... Super heroes don't seem to fly quietly saving people
I'm also more likely to let them do creative things when the house is relatively tidy - if i have to clear off garbage from the kitchen table, the chances of them being able to fingerpaint are pretty slim.
And i'm not ashamed to say that i've banned Playdough from my house - it's ruined two laptops so far, and i can't afford to replace another. The times when i really feel like someone needs to play with it, we'll make a batch, play with it outside for a while, and throw it away.
By which I mean, absolutely on the painting, drawing, playdoh, water play at the sink, all the dollies out for a play, leggo and blocks covering the table and floor ... but not so much on the sand being dumped on the carpet out of shoes, smelly clothes left lying in bedrooms until they moulder, food being eaten anywhere and everywhere and leaving a trail of detritus all over the house. I try to get the kids to help me pack up at the end of the day, so we at least start somewhat tidier the next day too.
My biggest problem is actually lack of space both for storage and activities - the house is getting mightily cramped now that we're a family of 5 (3 bedrooms, 2 of them small; one medium sized living room; very little interior storage capacity). It's hard to even maintain a semblance of order when things don't have a place to go back to.
And gotta love messy play for the sensory averse kiddies!
Busy Brissy Mum says