Messy Art Day

Just the name sounds promising, Messy Art Day.  With a name like that, how can you not go?  Living in the bay area, I know that all the preschools these days use label like “sensory exploration” and “creativity through different mediums”.  But when I was a kids it was just called art, or messy art, or sometimes just a mess.  With such a straightforward name, I knew we were in for a treat. 

 Every year on the 3rd Saturday of March, the El Cerrito Preschool Co-op hosts it’s Messy Art Day.  It’s a day for young children to truly get their hands dirty.  Manned by a host of parent and teacher volunteers, and free thanks to generous donations each year, the school is transformed into an art and sensory exploration heaven for little ones.  Some examples of the stations: 

A human spin art contraption. Kids are on the tire swing and given squeeze bottles of paint to spray while they are spinning in circles.


Children are given balls of different sizes and textures to dip in paint, then they could roll them down the slide to see the different designs that were made.


Baking soda with a cup, then you pour in vinegar mixed with colored water. What do you get; a fun colorful explosion! My daughter spent 20 minutes here making an explosive mess and getting soaked.


Who doesn’t love giant bubbles? Especially when there is a vat of awesome bubble liquid and and big bubble wands.

Mix cornstarch with colored water, pour through a strainer, and watch and feel the colorful noodles come through.


Wait, you mean you give kids sticks and then let them hit pots and pans to their hearts content, just to see the different noises they make? What kid wouldn’t love that!


Even the adults were feeling this one to figure out what they were. But it’s squishly and wet, that’s all that matters to my kids. They just loved playing with it.

In the end my kids were soaked head to toe and covered in paint, shaving cream, glue, bubble liquid, and other items I can’t even recognize.  Thankfully, I had been warned, so when we left, at the car I stripped them of the old clothing I had put them in, wiped off as much of the excess I could from their hands and body using baby wipes (I still can’t figure out how my daughter had so much green on her stomach), and dressed them in dry, clean clothing.  My now exhausted children then climbed in the car, talking of there adventures all the way home as they tried to fight off sleep. 

Where:  El Cerrito Preschool Co-op, El Cerrito, CA 

When:  3rd Saturday in March every year from 10:30 am – 2:30 am 

Ages:  Generally children 4 and under 

How Much:  Free, but donations encouraged. 

Notes:  Only put your children in old clothing and shoes, nothing you are too attached to.  I actually put my kids in rain boots and packed extra shoes.  Bring towels, clean clothing for them to change into, (even clean, dry underwear), and a large package of wet wipes.  Yes, everything will get wet and dirty. Expect to have to scrub your children with vigor that evening.

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