Calling all kiddos (big and small) who want to get colorful! All you artsy fartsy types who are craving a little inspiration as winter fades and spring springs...go ahead, make a mess. For real, The Messy Artist in East Hanover, NJ wants you to know it is more than OK to splatter some paint and throw some goo in the air like you just don't care!
The Messy Artist, simply put, is a place to create art. A studio that offers year-round art classes for ages 18 months to adult. So naturally, when Sheppie and I heard they had an open-art playtime/class for toddlers we were like "!!!!!!!!" and "!!!!!" and then I was like "!!!!!!!!!!!!" I scheduled a Playgroup session right away.
This is the story of my Messy journey with my mini, one fine Friday afternoon...
"Station Play" is the Messy Artist 'class' for the little ones. It is essentially one hour where you Drop In And Play at 5 different set ups...5 different reasons to get messy and just have FUN. Big shapes, Goo, Painting, Drawing, Sensory Bin; spend as much time at each station as you like and skip any crafting concept you aren't into. Play and explore at your own leisure. Here, there is no wrong or right way to do art -- there is only one rule -- take a creative journey, and have some good old fashioned freaking fun while you're doing it!
First up for us was Big Shapes. At this station we were given lots of construction paper in all shapes, sizes and colors, and glue sticks and told to collage our hearts out. Shep and his friend McKinley had a blast placing and pasting the shapes on paper and then peeling them up again, and pasting them down in new positions. We talked about the different spare and colors we were handling. It was the toddler way of DIY.
Next up our personal favorite - PAINTING! This really made the whole class experience, in my humble opinion. There was glitter paint, funky kitchen utensils to use as stamps, paint brushes, toy cars whose wheels were dipped in paint...and of course we used our hands. My only qualm? It was almost like we didn't get messy enough if that is at all possible! At home we craft daily but I tend to shy away from paints because um, well, paint is messy. So at the studio I felt like the messier we got the more connected we became to channeling the Art Gods. We went there, that's for sure. No holding back! Messy moments were happening and they were magical. I just wanted more.
Fact: Shep loves "projects." At home I ask him if he wants to do a project and he heads upstairs to the craft room. Yes, we have a craft area because I am only slightly obsessed with DIY and now, to my amazement, my mini me is becoming a Petite Picasso! Ok, perhaps I'm getting slightly getting ahead of myself but I'm telling you, my almost-two-year-old can craft it up! His focus on and with art is unreal. The reason I say this is because by now you all know Sheppiedoodle is an energetic little one; adventure is his middle name. But with art we have a reason to relax. We put on our focus faces and goe into the 'zen zone.' It's an escape from the world whirling by.
The Glittery GOOP -- a homemade concoction that resembles puddy/playdoh/slime all in one was super fun for the parents to participate in with their littles. We made monster and make-believe pieces of pizza. Shep actually learned the word pizza right then and there. We conquered the Drawing station and a Sheppie hopped into the Bean-Filled Sensory Bin large enough to fit at least 5 toddlers at a time! These babies LOVED the bean bin so much so they didn't want to get out. Thus our hour was ending.
With just enough time to sit in a circle and read creative story, we said "goodbye to our art friends," took our smocks off and washed our hands of all the magic we had just created. I mean, this is me we are talking about, of course I left all the paint on our upper arms and hair. Souvenirs, if you will.
My Petite Picasso had a blast. To say the kids had a great time is an understatement. It honeslty seemed like they were all in a colorful-glittery-gooey dream world where messy moments reigned supreme. Magic I tell you...a magical afternoon with my mini.