The Importance of Making Messes

If you ever need to learn how to make a mess in the quickest, most thorough way possible, we know of several High Hopes classrooms that house the experts on the subject. Bet you know some too – they’re called toddlers, and when it comes to making messes, they are pros. We’ve got every variety of mess-maker here. You see, there are several specializations in the mess-making profession.

You’ve got your mouthers. That’s the one where whatever is on the floor gets picked up and put straight into a mouth. It might be food, or it might be a toy, or it might be a piece of fuzz. Maybe it’ll go in their own mouth, maybe it’ll go in a friend’s mouth, but it’s going into a mouth, that’s for sure. The more drool, the better. If you can get a little snot into the mix, that’s a job very well done.

Then there are the dumpers, a teacher’s personal favorite. Dumpers like to go to the box with the most toys, especially ones that are small and plentiful. Then they pick up the entire box, turn it over, and let gravity do its work. Magnificent! If they come across a container of rolling toys, forget about it. New. Favorite. Game. And let’s not forget the squish-and-smearers. These mess-makers use food as their preferred medium, although in a pinch, playdough or paint will suffice. The concept is simple: take something malleable or viscous, grind it under your hand, and then, voila! Your hand is a paintbrush, and everything you can reach is your canvas. These children work in applesauce like artists work in oil paints. Open container of liquid? Hi, that’s on the floor now. Squashed raisin on the floor? Bonus snack time! Crayons or markers left in reach? Hope you like graffiti. If you’re the parent or caretaker of a professional mess-maker, it can get really overwhelming really fast. The frustration is hard to tamp down when it seems like they’re doing it on purpose, like the mess is never-ending and spontaneously multiplies, like you’ll never experience that mythical feeling of “clean” again. But there is a method to the mess-making madness, beyond the fact that it’s just fun to be destructive sometimes. Maybe if we can understand a little more of the why behind the mess, it won’t be so exasperating. What’s Going On? The preschool staff recently completed an online training module for the State of Tennessee pertaining to brain growth. It contained a lot of interesting information about how the brain grows and develops, scientifically and psychologically. The take-away was that early intervention is HUGE. From the moment a baby is born, and even while still in the womb, a child’s brain is in a state of constant, rapid growth. Within the first year of life, a child’s brain reaches 50% of its adult weight. By age three, the brain has typically grown to 80% of its adult weight. And during the first three years of life, it is estimated that a child’s brain develops 700 neural connections per second! As we age, our neural processes slow down, and our brain’s ability to add new connections and grow diminishes. But those first three years of 24/7 brain-growing are a whirlwind.