hello glitter goop!

best art class new jerseyThis is an exciting twist on our ever-popular goop, beloved by kids in our classes, parties and camps. It’s a tactile, open ended play experience that immediately engages kids of all ages (and often, their caregivers, too).the messy artist fine art classes for kids the messy artist sensory play

Our regular goop recipe is very simple, calling for white glue, laundry starch and liquid watercolor paint. We tweaked it a little for this version and use clear glue, laundry starch and lots of glitter. This large amount of glitter is the key to giving it great depth and texture.

Finally, adding some googly eyes takes it to another level of imaginative play. We only use the googly eyes however for kids over the age of 3 years, just in case the temptation to put them in their mouth is too much for the youngest kiddos.

childrens art class morris county new jerseyThe inspiration for the googly eyes came from one of our students. One day, a boy came to class with a stuffed animal, and while there, its googly eyes popped off. He put them into the goop and started playing, and voila! We recognized the great idea and incorporated it into our activities.

Here’s our recipe so you can make it yourself: enjoy!glitter goop recipe with logo sm

hello laundry starch!

After canceling classes and hunkering inside for a few days due to a “blizzard” (or at least it was predicted to be one) recently, we were thinking about art and craft projects that are perfect for a snow day. Our Director of Fine Arts Viviana pointed us in the direction of an interesting free download.

It’s put out by the company that makes Linit, the liquid laundry starch we use when making goop.linit_bottle

The only other necessary ingredient for goop is white glue (though we use liquid watercolor paints for fun colors too). Goop is always popular in our studios.

nj art class and party childrens art studio njChock full of activities for both adults and kids, this recipe book is a great resource to keep in mind for your next snow day.

(And don’t worry about the $2 price on the website – it is a free download)


We are eying the marbling project, and found the fabric walls idea intriguing. We’ll post back with our project results – let us know if you make anything!

hello gelatin!

best art class party and camp morris county new jerseyIn our studio, one of the stations that is the most exciting for our youngest students is the “messy table”. Here we introduce a new sensory experience each week for them to explore, experiment with, create with – and yes, make a mess with.

Throughout the session, we cycle through a number of different substances– such as goop, slime, and snow dough, to name a few – and gelatin.   Kids love its jiggly motions and the way it is squishy and breakable; it has been in our rotation for about 10 years.art studio for kids northern new jersey the messy artist art studio for kids

How to enjoy play gelatin at home:

  • Mix up a batch of unflavored gelatin, using less water than the recipe calls for. We tend to use about 1/8 less than the recommended amount.   This makes it thicker and allows it to be cut into shapes and not break as easily. We use Knox brand, found at many grocery stores.      knox
  • We use unflavored gelatin so that even if a child does decide to taste it, the lack of flavor stops them from wanting more. We have noticed however that not too many children do try to taste it – perhaps jello is not as popular as a dessert now as it was a generation or two ago.
  • To give the gelatin color, we use food coloring.
  • For added visual interest, we add glitter. The glitter will often settle to the bottom while the gelatin cools, so we flip the cubes over as we serve them up, and then sprinkle more glitter on top.      north jersey art classes for children east hanover

We pour the gelatin into a 9” x 13” baking tray, and the once the gelatin has thickened, we cut it into squares. As with many of our messy activities, we put it on a tray for the children to enjoy: this keeps it easily contained for them, and makes cleanup easier for us.new jersey art class camp and party morris county sensory play for toddlersWe put out tools and toys for the kids to use to experiment with the gelatin: popsicles sticks, small plastic cups, tongs, plastic animals.

the messy artist gelatin sensory play fine art class nj for kids

Have you tried gelatin as a sensory material for children? Let us know!

hello slime!

the messy artistThis unique textural experience keeps kids enthralled as they discover its special properties. Sometimes acting like a liquid, sometimes like a solid, this mixture of cornstarch and colored water is easy to make and provides open-ended experimentation.

Here is the recipe we use in class at The Messy Artist, and as we note – the mixing requires some elbow grease so it’s best for the adults to do that part. The kids can still help out by measuring, and mixing the food coloring into the water. If you choose to color your slime, you’ll want to do it by coloring the water first, before you add in the cornstarch. If you wait until the cornstarch and water are mixed to add the food coloring, you are in for a lot more of stiff mixing. It does however create a more streaky effect if you do it that way. You can also omit the food coloring and your slime will be the color of cornstarch: white.the messy artist slime recipe

We like to do this activity on trays so kids can enjoy it and keep it contained. It makes the cleanup much easier – we just whisk the whole tray away when it is time to move on to another activity.

slime from cornstarchWe either spoon out some slime onto the tray or put it into small plastic cups before class starts.

Accessories we provide children with include popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, little cups, plastic animals, toy people and/or characters to put in the slime. However, we don’t use all of these at once; maybe just one or two at a time.

messy fun projectWe do always use popsicle sticks, however, as these allow children who are a little tentative about the slime to play with it without having to touch it and get messy. Children love to cover the objects with slime and let it drip.

north jersey art classes and camps for kids
Eventually the water slowly evaporates and the slime becomes cornstarch again.  Just add more water to get it back to the consistency you want.

art studio for kids njTo store, first pour off extra water, then keep in an uncovered container.  It will dry out, but you can just add warm colored water and mix, and you’re good to go again.

Happy sliming!





hello play dough!

It would be an understatement to say we love play dough – we adore it so much we almost consider it a necessity!  We have it on hand (ha!) for all our classes for our youngest students as one of our sensory stations.

Each session we create a signature “look” for our play dough.  For example, spring may be yellow play dough with a lemony scent.  Autumn might be purple with a lavender scent. Because it has so many merits and kids love it, it is always at the top of our lists of favorites.

Some of the benefits we see from children playing with play dough are:

  • It promotes hand strength
  • It improves eye- hand coordination
  • Play dough allows for open ended, imaginative play
  • Many other tools and toys can be introduced into play with play dough
  • It is a very adaptable material; we make it different colors and scents, add sometimes add glitter.

Here is the recipe for the play dough we use in our studios:

play dough recipe the messy artist

Some of the tools we use with play dough:

Popsicle sticksprocess oriented art for kids

Plastic gemsthe messy artist new jersey

Plastic animalsfine art class for kids new jersey

Rolling pins, including textured onesart studio for children class camp party


Pizza Cuttersplay dough recipe

Wooden hammerscreative art studio for kids

Large buttonsbest art class party and camp north jersey

Sea shellsart class for kids east hanover nj

Extrudersplay dough tools and recipe

Cutting tools/pie serversnorth jersey art class for kids

Nothing at all!favorite art class camp and party new jersey

Each week we change the accessories that we put out with the play dough. The first week of the session, we offer no toys, and then cycle through our arsenal, mixing and matching them as the session progresses. The children look forward to the play dough each class, and discovering each week’s tools.

Do you have favorite ways to enjoy play dough with children?