We all want to encourage our children's creativity. We want them to draw, paint, sculpt, explore, but we don't want the mess. The creators of Make-a-Messterpiece in Glenview provide hours of creative play, combined with easy clean-up.
The 10,000-square-foot studio and play spaces leave ample room to explore various media as art, including paints, crayons, glitter, glue and even food. "Splat'tacular" tables and easels provide accessible workspace with all the necessary materials provided. My 4-year-old was drawn to the paint station, where he combined brushwork with his own fingerpaints. Big mess? No problem. Every art station is equipped with sinks and paper towel dispensers, making it easy to clean up. The studio provides smocks in different sizes and designs to protect kids' clothing.
Customers have unlimited access to table space (and supplies) and two play areas with $10 admission, but you may also want to consider buying two or three additional art activities for $5 each.
At Little Sprouts, nature lovers make environmentally friendly projects such as tote bags and flower pots. Older kids can play mad scientists at Experimentation Station, where science lessons result in take-homes like magic potions and kaleidoscopes. Projects change every few weeks so kids won't get bored at return visits. At the Kids Creative Kitchen we made and ate a color-wheel pizza. My son also loved pressing the buttons in Bubble'ology and rocked out to music and paint-filled drums in the percussion-heavy Drum Roll.
I accompanied my preschooler from project to project, but the studio's layout makes it possible to keep an eye on multiple kids at once. They also have equipped their adult-friendly Club M café with video monitors projecting images from each studio space. Many moms were sipping coffee and reading magazines while their kids engaged in art.
The excellent staff of artists and educators helps guide children's creativity without interfering too much, encouraging artistic expression and learning while still keeping everything fun. They're not there to supervise children, as much as to make sure everyone is having a good time and getting the most out of the experience.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.