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Mini Makers: Messy Play

Get ready to get messy in our informal art sessions, offering creative fun for little hands and feet

A baby lying on a mat covered with paint, with splodges of orange and yellow paint on its face, hands and tummy. Its tummy is being tickled with a mini mop covered in paint.

Drop in* | £2 per child, including babies

Designed for ages 0 - 4, but all are welcome
*Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis

Be prepared to get messy in these informal art sessions for babies and toddlers. Mini Makers: Messy Play is a chance for little ones to explore early mark-making and get hands-on with a range of different materials, including paint, glitter, paste, sand, clay, spaghetti, chalk and much more. 

Messy play is an important part of early development, appealing to children's curiosity and helping them to understand the world through their senses. Led by our expert Learning team, these sessions are specially designed to encourage imagination, while supporting with the development of good concentration and muscle control.

Parents and children will get messy together, so we advise wearing clothing that you are happy to get paint on! While our paints are water-based, there is a small risk of staining with some items if the paint is not washed out quickly. Many of our regular visitors have a dedicated "messy" outfit to enjoy this session to its fullest, and some may choose to bring spare clothes to change into afterwards. 

Upcoming themes:

5 January - Chasing Rainbows

As we enter a new year, let's brighten up the dark days of winter with all the colours of the rainbow! Walk through the rainbow as little ones mark make with painted feet, use tissue paper for beautiful suncatchers to hang at home, explore tuff trays filled with rice, shaving foam and pom poms, plus so much more!

2 February – Dippy on Tour

Dippy the Dinosaur is here at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum on tour from the Natural History Museum in London. Journey to a time before written records existed and stomp through paint to make dinosaur footprints, craft fiery volcanoes and delve into trays full of mud, clay and mess!

2 March – World Book Day Special: ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’

Join us for our annual celebration of World Book Day with a retelling of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ in our special Sensory Stories and Rhymes sessions. Take part in a magical bear adventure in our messy play session; stomp through paint leaving bear-shaped footprints around the room; mark-make with forest sticks; form a snowy scene with snowball balloons and more.

30 March – April Showers

It’s raining, it’s pouring, but Mini Makers is never boring! Discover the fun of rain-based activities as we explore the colour blue with trays full of dyed rice, shredded paper and hundreds of cotton wool balls to pretend your little ones are floating in a rain cloud. Plus get, creative and experiment with mark-making using our water spray bottles, paint dabbers, pipettes and of course a bit of puddle paint jumping to get those feet involved!

4 May – Spectacular Seascapes & Adventures

Join us on an adventure, where seascapes glisten and paper crafts turn into mystical sea creatures. Explore sensory tuff trays inspired by ocean lagoons and treasure islands with lots of messy fun.

8 June – The Great Outdoors

With the weather getting warmer outside, this month we will be enjoying nature-inspired messy play. Stomp through paint to make wild beast footprints, press real flowers to craft suncatchers, print with leaves and dive into tuff trays filled with sensory materials.

6 July – Celebrate Summer

One of our favourite themes of the year! Delve into our sandpits, sculpt pom-pom paper ice-creams, bring to life sunny scenes with hand-printing and so much more with this colourful Mini Makers session.

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