A Sensational Adventure: Vehicle Play with The Tiny Mess Club

Making a mess in Pleasantville

By Kelly Fitzpatrick February 21, 2024

Are you all in on sensory play, too? It's endless fun for my littles and it's something I'm often happy to take part in myself (which makes up for me being a mom that does not like to play on the playground…). There are so many methods, materials, and themes to explore.  As a newer mom I had enjoyed creating custom bins, but as life has become busier, I’ve found that it happens less and less. But you know what? It's taken time to outsource play as a former teacher, but I've come to realize that it's a good thing! Let's take the pressure off of ourselves and trust the experts. The Tiny Mess Club is ready and willing to do the prep, play, and cleanup!

I brought my four-year-old and two-year-old to a recent vehicle themed class in Pleasantville and they are still raving about the make and take map project. Founders Jess Piccinich and Valerie Geschwind greeted each child by name at the door, provided name tags to build community, and offered the cutest branded aprons to those that were interested. The play set ups were arranged with care to allow the children to easily wander between them.  The class size was also capped to ensure the little mess-makers could interact with the materials easily.

As we made our way in, two-year-old Fiona bopped around to the beat of the background music sampling each center. It didn't take her long to decide that the book nook with a Little Blue Truck favorite would be her first stop. Malachy, my preschooler, took his time surveying the scene and deliberating over where to begin.  The coffee scented play dough with a variety of tools for making tracks and imprints caught his attention for a long stretch of the class.  That's one of the best parts of what The Tiny Mess Club offers - with free choice and no time constraints at each center, children can linger in the places that most interest them or they can make time to try them all. During our session, Mal and Fiona also made routes on a map (Fiona was ALL in on this! She painted way more than the map...), contributed to a group mural and washed muddy cars.

Classes have weekly themes, such as the vehicle week in which we visited. Rainbows, love, and snow have also been smashing successes with the tiny crowd.  The centers are coordinated around the theme to offer a multi-sensory experience that builds vocabulary, introduces new concepts, and grows fine and gross motor skills.  This thematic approach ensures learning sticks and is highly engaging to young children.  Another touch that I noticed and appreciated was the varied textures offered, as not all children enjoy messy play.  Jess and Valerie plan with the intentionality of highly trained and experienced educators using different pathways to approach sensory play. In addition to the messy station, you’ll also find options such as the dry center (think oatmeal, rice, etc., the vertical center, a sculpture center, a make-and-take art project, the vertical center, and the book nook. The careful design of the class appeals to the different strengths, needs, and preferences of the tiny ones that join each session.

The Tiny Mess Club classes are currently offered mornings and afternoons in Fleetwood, Ardsley, and Pleasantville.  I love the flexibility of signing up for one class at a time or several, with no set number of sessions to commit to. If you do decide to sign up for the whole month, a 4-pack discount is available. Classes fill up quickly, so jumping on registration as it opens each month is important if you need a particular day, location, or time.  Sign-up is easy and takes place directly on their site, where you can also find the Caregiver Corner with resources for parents.  The Tiny Mess Club also offers custom birthday party packages and in-home play sessions for groups. March registration is live - sign up today! THE TINY MESS CLUB - Register

We can’t wait to head to another class and hope to see your kiddos there getting messy, too!

Special Deal for Macaroni KID Subscribers!  Save $5 off your first session with code WeLoveMacaroni