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If you want to see my anxiety shoot through the roof, just say the word “messy.” I get a little cringe-y and creeped out when it comes to certain things, and let’s just say that paint, play dough, clay and slime are the stuff of nightmares for me. Yet, children covet this squishy stuff. They cherish the mess. And there are loads of studies that point to the benefit of this creative play.