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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET “raspberries,” the young child’s arsenal of funny gestures and sounds is endless. Over time, as children grow and develop, their humor becomes more sophisticated, such as the slapstick hilarity of the kids who shake up your bottle of diet soda at the family picnic or the nuanced potty talk of third-grade boys. The surprising value of humor in child development and the parent’s role in encouraging this funny business will be discussed in chapter 5. 6  •  Creating a Beautiful Mess I’ve traveled far from my own childhood (nostalgia alert!), but when I close my eyes I can still remember the yeasty smell of fingerpaints in my kin- dergarten classroom. I vividly recall the smooth texture of the paints, thick as toothpaste, on the shiny paper. Back then, no one saved our paintings or posted images of them on Instagram because creating a gallery of mas- terpieces wasn’t the point. The main thing was the process—the sensory experience of smearing that gooey mess across the page, the tips of our smock sleeves dragging over the tacky surface of the paint. Fingerpainting is much rarer today. Advancements in the technology of children’s art prod- ucts have provided us with “no mess” paints, markers, and clay. These days, it seems there is always a layer of clear plastic between children and their art supplies.   What’s missing here? Children must make messes. It’s in their job description. They must knead playdough, splash water, slap mud pies, blow bubbles. Some parents may find this news discouraging, especially if they have light-colored carpeting in the family room. There are, however, some commonsense strategies for reducing damage to your home. The valid, research-based arguments for allowing children to safely enjoy these sen- sory experiences will be detailed in chapter 6. 7  •  Playing Turn-Taking Games This next play experience, turn-taking games, is a close cousin to the run- ning-around-like-crazy play experience. Most children love the thrill of the chase, of escaping or of being “it.” But we often forget that the world of Play Is Still Play  …  7 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL