Messy Monsters run art classes for babies and toddlers allowing them to get covered in glue, paint and mess without destroying
mum and dad's home.
Tags:Art Calsses for Toddlers,art classes for toddlers,messy monsters,parenting tips,simplymediatv
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Claire Bishop: Well, now here are some words that strike fear into your heart. Mommy can we do some painting? You can just imagine the destruction that your adorable but very active toddlers are about to make, but help is at hand.
The rapidly growing Messy Monsters Art group may just be the solution for all those moms and dads who want to encourage their little ones' artistic side but don't want to end-up clearing the ensuing carnage.
Now Leah Robins, owner of the Messy Monsters, is here with her daughter Alice and mom Emma with Jake who has been able to make full use, who have been able to mess someone else's house-up.
Leah is that fair? Is that what you do? Is you let your house be completely trashed?
Leah Robins: Well we hire premises in church halls around the country and allow parents and their children to come in and make as much creative mess as they feel they need to and then they go home and some of the parents feel guilty and some parents don't feel guilty about the mess that they leaving us to tidy up.
Clarie Bishop: It's a fantastic idea what made you come up with it?
Leah Robins: Basically, I decided to stay at home after Alice was born. My work was full time prior to Alice and it didn't fit with Alice once she was born and we go to music group, and we go to swimming class, and we go and play with toys and things, and she got to that age where she started showing an interest in pens and papers and all the other terrible things. Basically I just thought well I went to an internet looking for our nearest art group for toddlers, I couldn't find one, and thought why trouble, do it myself.
Clarie Bishop: So what sort of thing do the Messy Monsters do?
Leah Robins: We do different things for different age groups. So we do from 18 months to 5 and then from 6 months to 18 months. So the six months to 18 months is very much concentrating on tactile play, exploring and that's really more messy. We do sort of one structured activity where they make something to take home, it goes private place, mom or grandma house, but really that the younger class is just focusing on mess and how it feels and exploring all the different materials that we use.
Then in the older class of the 18 months to 5 years, we do full structured activities and we do a lot of free plays lot of it is played all which is their favorite with the parents, when it's not on their carpets and we do finger painting things that's also can to just go home and play with. Then the activities that we do, we've done everything from T-shirt painting, puppet making. We have occasionally used boxes and things to create this, but mostly we use sort of new materials although we try to do some recycling with some of the products.
Claire Bishop: I see Jake is just dying to get down there and make a mess. Emma, how useful is this service?
Emma Pursey: Oh, it's fantastic because I don't like getting all the painting at our home because I don't tend to spend the time with him if we do, I might just go often do the ironing or do the cleaning and I work as well. So it's quite nice to be able to take him out and actually have some quality time with him painting and --
Claire Bishop: So you get down and messing with him.
Emma Pursey: Yeah, we do. I was saying a little earlier. It would be nice we had a friend as well. So I am sure the moms get more messy than the children.
Claire Bishop: I was going to ask whether Jake comes back covered from head to toe.
Emma Pursey: He doesn't because he wear a nice apron so he comes away and he is -- I mean obviously he has dirty hands and face but other than that it's – you know we don't have any clearing up at all, although I give him a nice bath when we get at home.
Clarie Bishop: But how do you stop him from being, so he can be as messy as he likes when he goes to Messy Monsters. How does he know Jake that he can't do that when he goes home?
Emma Pursey: Because we tell him now it's a messy Monster time when we go there and you can be messy and we can just don't do that right now. So it's lovely actually and he does know when he can and can't do that.
Claire Bishop: Oh, he is desperate, isn't he?
Emma Pursey: He is, yes.
Clarie Bishop: What's his favorite activity other than the Messy Monsters?
Emma Pursey: He likes painting, he loves paint brushes. Absolutely he loves his paint brushes, so he loves his painting and just getting messy with paint.
Claire Bishop: You can be a great artist when you grow up.
Emma Pursey: Oh, we hope so, don't we?
Clarie Bishop: Leah what sorts of activities, I know you've talked about painting and knitting Emma room's but how extensive does he go with it?
Leah Robins: We do painting and even the range of paints, the types of paints that we use are very tweak from ready-mix paint, Gouache paints, acrylic paints and T-shirt painting paints, cloth paints, finger paints, sort of a broad spectrum of things like that.
We use air drying place for the children, we use lots of different materials that we can paint on. Children get a lot of first time experiences because not only parents are quite fearful of paint and also quite fearful of scissors and things as well. We introduced set of scissors and we appropriate set of scissors in a safe environment that they can use scissors and things like that. So, the children get a lot of first time experiences there. As the teachers that I have spoken to, are very grateful about that children are comfortable using scissors because it’s not something that they necessarily have the time to do when they have got the class full of children who are not able to use things like scissors and we go through and we teach them things like –
Claire Bishop: How older does the child have to be to really get full advantage of Messy Monsters. You mentioned very young which I think is –
Leah Robins: Very young children put in their hands and we have tubs of different materials and they love putting their hands in there and picking it up and sort of splashing it to making a mess and just getting sort of to feel things and so those activities are very different to what the same activity a child who is little bit older will come along and sit with their parent and do it. And you would ask him to describe how it feels and what they feel and that’s improving their vocabulary and their confidence as well so which is very –
Claire Bishop: So it’s not just a matter of making a mess, they are actually learning all the time.
Leah Robins: Nobody knows they are learning and it’s all about having fun.
Claire Bishop: Sounds if the moms have just as much fun as their kids.
Leah Robins: I think moms forget how much fun and crafts are until they get back to Messy Monsters. And they remember sort of the glue and all of the paintbrushes and everything and they really get to interact.
Claire Bishop: Well, I think we have sort of held back you Alice, and certainly and Jake, you are desperate to go and so why don’t we just have a go and I have brought two friends along so – it’s going to be exciting. Let’s get messy.
Alright Leah, you promised me, you are going to get messy so come on, let’s go.
Leah Robins: Okay. What we are going to make today is – we are going to make – let’s have a look in the bag. So shall we make? Does anybody know what this is? A fishie. Should we make a fishie hat? Oh, look do I look like a fishie? Look we can make all these treasures in this box. So here we go. Let’s make a fishie hat. You want a pink one Alice, there we go. There we go. Blue one Jake. You got blue in your hands Alice.
Female Speaker: Oh, no we have started already.
Leah Robins: There we go. So --
Claire Bishop: I don't think that sort of handy glue, it's going to end as much starting there and as you are to the --
Leah Robins: So it doesn't matter though
Claire Bishop: That's good. Generally what happens -- but it doesn't matter.
Leah Robins: And also for toddlers it's quite hard to show as well and to appreciate quantities and --
Claire Bishop: Yes.
Leah Robins: Size and color and things, so that they are learning
Claire Bishop: But times they can grow up party person.
Leah Robins: Yes.
Leah Robins: It's positive encouragement as well, it's one of the nice things about art, whatever they do. It plays --
Claire Bishop: And what should happen now, tell me? Oh, can I help with you with your fishie hat? What colors you are going to put in your fish, what do you think? Or is it glue that is more important at the moment?
Emma Pursey: Jake that’s fantastic.
Claire Bishop: Oh, there is another Alice over there she is doing brilliantly, isn't she? Do you usually find that little girls, little boys differ in the way they do things at this age?
Leah Robins: Yes without sort of stereotyping children we do find that little girls are tainting into focus more and what they are making book, then there are exceptions.
They all do the children get as well as their mom time they spend on each individual piece. So for the younger children that is to correct all of that as little as them children attempt to just do one or two of them to the --
Claire Bishop: It sounds lovely. How did you discover what was going to be the most beneficial to moms or is it just a matter of making mess?
Leah Robins: Apart just an art of making mess, initially when we set up to do it and having different ideas in that. For my background I am using research, quite a bit of research and the publications the people have all the activities are suitable to what age of children and also we get training and with the pre-school learning and learners.
Claire Bishop: And how many messy toddler groups have you got now? I know that you’re franchising it out.
Leah Robins: Yes, we have all eleven franchises and then we have each franchise running somewhere between one and ten different venues a week.
Claire Bishop: What sort of training do people need for messy Monsters for the people leading them?
Leah Robins: The people leading? Training over isn't important aspect. A good sense of humor and being able to stay calm when this happens and get it clean up.
Claire Bishop: That’s as extremely important.
Leah Robins: That’s one of the main things. I’m just patient to the children and then we do the training here. We have people that have franchise--
Claire Bishop: So it must be great for moms who maybe or at end of it tell that when they think they know that their house is going to be completely destroyed. The fact that they can just go out and somewhere else and then leave it all behind at the end of the day, which is the fantastic feeling.
Leah Robins: Because they can still do arts and crafts at home. But they don’t have to do the really messy art. They don’t have to do painting. They can do little bit of coloring.
Claire Bishop: Because sometimes it’s not that just as the final stores, isn’t it?
Leah robins: Yeah.
Claire Bishop: The mess everywhere and destruction.
Leah Robins: It’s the idea as well in the variety of materials that we have available means that we can do different activities each week when your parents are at home. By the time you get everything out and the phone goes --
Claire Bishop: Or they don’t want to do that.
Leah Robins: And then know, they probably just know what's playing --- still trying to touch it while they have moved on to the next activities and the next thing that they want to do. So we do sort of get parents in who are very relieved and many of the parents comment on how relaxing and calming they find. They often sort of doing activity for themselves as well.
Claire Bishop: So how many do you usually have in a session of Messy Monsters and how long does the session last?
Leah Robins: The younger session last between half-an-hour to 45 minutes and then the 18 months to 5 years lasts for an hour. So it’s quite a long time to get them to concentrate to work on activities, that’s why we do so many different activities each week.
Claire Bishop: Does every, I mean I would imagine that some children don’t necessarily fit into Messy Monsters? Do you find there is sometimes a little bit of reluctant been toddlers come over and they certainly discover they can really let go?
Leah Robins: Yes. When children first come in, some of them need to around everything because they’re afraid that it will get picked away before they have chance to play with them. And then with the children who are such of child, who don’t like mess we have one parent I can think of the brought her little girl to twelve months who is just trying to get her to get messy. She was really sort of -- it was something that she out-cut, hope that she was in stress and she comes in now when she is first in all of the mess and they come on pushing.
Claire Bishop: that's very heart warming. You must be spending your time constantly thinking of newer and newer activities?
Leah Robins: Yes, we have 120 things.
Clarie Bishop: 120!
Leah Robins: 120 different things and then we have sorts of four of five activities for each things. We have a lot of different ideas.
Claire Bishop: Well Jake, I think you have a lovely thing to take home with you, and thank you all very much for coming in and getting messy. Very brave you moms, I have to say.