Happymess was developed by Jenny Clarke after having her first child. She ran popular sessions in Forest Hill, South East London for a year before moving to Bristol and setting up Happymess there. It has been running at Redcatch Community Garden in Knowle, Bristol since 2018. Jenny recently trained as an Art Psychotherapist. She now works for Redcatch Community Garden (RCG) and has brought Happymess with her so that it can operate as part of their Community Benefit Society.
Happymess provides a safe, friendly space to play, explore, create and make a mess together – with everything prepared for you in advance, and cleaned up afterwards!
Happymess sessions typically include:
+ An art or craft activity where you can make something to take home, with lots of painting, gluing and cutting
+ A messy play activity – such as cornflour gloop, oats, sand, cornflakes, coloured dry rice, spaghetti, cloud dough
+ Homemade playdough or similar modelling activity with a variety of props/toys to use with it
+ An additional mark-making activity – for example floor painting, printing with stamps, cookie cutters, chalk drawing, colouring-in
Each session has a similar layout so that children get to know the space and feel comfortable there, but because the activities are different every week, there is always something new to explore!
The children are free to play as they like, depending on their interests. Children - and adults - are there to have fun and get messy.
More about the benefits of messy play
Messy play provides many opportunities for learning, and through play your child will be able to explore textures, materials, colour, patterns and shapes. It develops hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills through activities such as pouring, digging, cutting, tearing, drawing and mark-making. Messy play encourages imaginative play because it is so flexible (for example, a water trough could be a duck pond, the ocean, a jungle swamp). It can also help build communication and social skills as children are playing and sharing resources with both adults and other children.