Photos by James Kinneen. A little girl digs for a truck buried in the sand.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
As anyone with kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews will tell you, there are two indisputable facts about sand and water tables: kids love them, and whoever has to clean up afterward hates them.
Luckily, if you have no desire to vacuum sand out of your rug or hose the dirt out of a water table, the Westwood Library has you covered with Messy Mondays, a summertime program for kids featuring messy crafts and sensory play.
Last Monday, the room was packed with children and their parents while a sand pit and bubbly water table were on the patio outside. Every Messy Monday has a theme, and this week the theme was trucks, so a table full of truck books was laid out and various truck crafts were available for the kids.
“We’ve had Messy Mondays throughout the summer,” explained Head of Children’s Services Lizzy McGovern. “Each Monday we pick a different theme. Today is trucks, so we have different stations and different activities. It can be something as simple as having trucks on the ground; we have two tables of different art activities and crafts. Outside, we have a water table where they’re washing trucks, and then a sand table where they’re digging through and looking for the trucks in the sand. Each week it rotates depending on what our theme is, but it’s about an hour long and people can come and go as they please. So, it’s a relaxed setting but there’s always something new and different to do.”
Because of the activities present, Messy Mondays are designed for a younger, preschool/kindergarten crowd, but the library doesn’t put an age limit on the event. But, while parents may use the event to maintain their sanity while their children get to be messy somewhere outside of home, the event isn’t about getting messy for messy’s sake. The kids are both learning some new skills and being given a less formal introduction to the library.
“They’re learning fine motor skills. And, we always have a bunch of books out, so all of these activities are both first socialization opportunities, and an introduction to the library before they go to something as structured as storytime, for example.”
With kids learning new skills, and parents not having to learn new cleaning techniques, Messy Mondays are a win-win situation for everyone involved.