Recipes for Messy Play

A review of Recipes for Messy Play, from New Shoots Publishing.

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What a beautiful reinvention of the ECE staple Recipes for Messy Play (New Shoots Publishing), now updated and expanded. It is full of ideas for messy play that are easy to create, have clear and simple instructions, and provide a great range of experiences and opportunities for sustained open-ended play. It is visually beautiful and has a focus on sustainability with suggestions on how to reuse messy play while keeping it fresh and inviting (a particular favourite was the ice chalk from reused gloop). Use of te reo Māori throughout the book gives handy ideas of phrases and concepts to use while working alongside children.

Along with a great variety of messy play ideas, I appreciated the links to why this is an important part of our ECE curriculum, and the stepping out of the kinds of skills children gain from this play.

It was easy to then make links to Te Whāriki: “Their play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognised” (Te Whāriki, page 25) and “an understanding that trying things out, exploring, playing with ideas and materials and collaborating with others are important and valued ways of learning” (Te Whāriki, page 47). This would also be helpful for documentation and public display of learning.

The What Adults Can Do section gives suggestions on how to support children in their exploration of messy play that are open-ended and authentic. This would be especially useful to adults new to providing these experiences. This book is fun and practical, and would be a great addition to any educator/parent library or art-room shelf.

Reviewed by Donna Eden

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