Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Make-A-Messterpiece - Messy, Creative Fun

When it comes to making a mess, my nearly 3-year-old daughter Mia is NOT interested. If there's a crumb on her shirt, a speck of paint on her fingers, or essentially anything out of place, her world gets knocked out of alignment. At just one year old, she was already insisting on being given paper towel pieces to wipe up microscopic dots of milk from the floor. Common phrases in our house are "I don't want to be messy!" and "Wipe me! Wipe me!"

So when my mom started taking Mia to Make-A-Messterpiece, near her home, for occasional visits, I couldn't fathom what Mia was doing there. Last week I took Mia there myself to check it out firsthand, and I couldn't believe my eyes... my daughter with paint on her hands, not freaking out!

Make-A-Messterpiece is a hands-on art and fun space offering a variety of mess-making activities. Not counting the indoor play area - since Mia simply can't pass up a good slide - we spent our time in two areas: at the Splat-Tacular Tables, and at Bubbleology.

The Splat-Tacular Tables are simply an area where kids can pull up a chair and freestyle, with all sorts of tools at their disposal like crayons, paint, stencils, sponges and other items. Kids can experiment with all sorts of techniques, and Mia made 3 great pictures that we brought home.

The Bubbleology area is Mia's favorite. Mine too. Bubbleology looks like a futuristic lab, with huge canister-shaped columns hanging over rounded metal sinks, spewing colorful bubbles onto whatever paper you put below them. Kids can choose the color column they want, then take a piece of paper, attach a stencil if they desire, and then put the paper under the "spout" while the bubbles come out. The bubbles land on the page and eventually pop, creating magical images that are actually frame-worthy.

Mia picked a snail - here's her experience and final product:

Other creative areas include a Creative Kitchen, where kids create edible artistic treats; Drum Roll, where kids play paint-filled drums; Experimentation Station, which lets kids do experiments and learn cause and effect lessons; and Lil Sprouts, where budding gardeners learn the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle and sustainability.

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