I always thought I’ve been pretty brave trying out sensory activities at home until Miss One and I attended a Messy Mat Perth session at Secret Harbour Community Centre, it was insanely good and super messy!
The sessions are aimed at babies from 6 months old (who can sit unaided) up to 4 years of age. It was so well organised with over 12 different multi-sensory stations to get involved in. Each one was laid out with plenty of space around it for the little ones to sit, stand or slide into. All the stations looked so inviting with bright colours and textures, pouring equipment, brushes, spoons and ladles all super attractive to little hands and inquisitive minds. This created a great atmosphere, there was a real buzz of excitement as the session started and the children started exploring the environment, becoming little messy monsters!
We started out literally in the slime! Miss One climbed straight into the bright orange, purple and pink slime. She loved pulling and squashing the slime until it was in her hair and toes. We then moved onto driving trucks around in mashed peas and cereal, then across to the dinosaurs in sand, followed by painting on a huge canvas covering the wall. We then sat in jelly and used a spatula to try and scoop it up, splashed in a lily pond, rolled and shaped play dough, played in multi colour spaghetti and poured cup fulls of colourful rice through funnels again and again.
Busy was not the word so, the hour-long session was plenty of time to explore all the sensory stations. Miss one had so much fun and was absolutely covered in rice, slime (which was her favourite), jelly, paint and baked beans…I was also excited to see my little one’s reaction and enjoyment playing with textures and food that she hadn’t explored before and that I certainly wouldn’t be brave enough to try at home!
The session was well supervised with the organisers getting round to speak to each person attending, finding out a bit more about their child and what sort of sensory activities they liked. This gave the session a very personal feel and although it was sold out, it didn’t feel crowded at any point and all children were able to access the activity stations.
Top tips for the day: Make sure you and your child wear old clothes or ones you don’t mind getting messy! I got totally covered carrying a very tired little girl to the cleaning station! They provide cleaning stations with warm soapy water so you can wash the majority of paint, food, slime or jelly off your little one before heading home. I would take a towel, fresh clothes, nappies and lots of wipes!
If you are interested in checking out one of these sessions head to the Facebook page or website or the latest sessions run throughout Perth’s Southern Suburbs and further information on the benefits of multi-sensory play. Booking online is simple and it’s great value considering you don’t have to clean up! If you are interested in going along to one of these sessions, I would be quick as they sell out fast and after attending I can certainly see why!
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