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The Story Behind the Messy Hands 

A lifelong educator and learner at heart, Amanda Brennan's brain is always thinking what children can learn from any experience they are in and how she can best support the healthy development of children around her.  While attending various activities with her young daughter, Amanda couldn't stop wondering about the impact that more young children being able to explore and create with their caregivers may have on our communities. Seeing young children excited to dig their hands into dyed rice, making pretend cupcakes for their grandmother, and splashing in trays of paint, she found herself thinking what other learning opportunities could be incorporated into these activities?


Throughout her career, she has seen the importance of relationships with a caregiver on children of all ages, and she realized that she was seeing the formation of healthy attachments right in front of her! What if caregivers were given quick tips on what to say to their little one when they are upset about a spill? What if caregivers were told about the importance of the PROCESS over the product? What if caregivers were provided with the developmental domains each activity was supporting? What if there were not planned activities that caregivers felt pressured to complete but instead open ended activities for children to explore?  The countless WHAT IFs were exciting and are what sparked the ideas behind Messy Hands & Happy Hearts!


Amanda noticed some barriers that may impact families being able to participate in these experiences including the timing, cost, and location. Messy Hands & Happy Hearts was developed so more children can have the opportunities to learn, grow, and develop trust through art and sensory experiences with their caregivers.  A commitment to keep costs lower will be made possible by using household items, repurposed supplies, and items found in nature to create with as much as possible. 

Messy Hands & Happy Hearts is for the caregivers that like the idea of the mess, but might not be ready for the mess to be at the kitchen table...yet! It is for the caregiver who has enough spare time to plan for the activity OR do the activity, but not for both. It is for the caregiver who might be looking for a community of families with children around the same age as theirs to share ideas, celebrate growth, and make connections with.  Come explore, let your child see that you trust and appreciate them, their decisions, and their thoughts. Then let US clean up the mess!

About Amanda

Amanda has been a special education teacher for over 10 years. She earned an M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education right before she had her daughter, Madeleine. During her time in the classroom, she was often the teacher clogging the staff room sink with messy creations she made with her students. She made great friends with the custodians and was always so thankful they didn't mind the extra glitter on the floor. She witnessed the benefits of being messy and free and saw the joy that creating brought her students. She also noticed the impact that bringing creative experiences into her curriculum had on the relationships with her students. After having her daughter, Amanda's appreciation for the mess did not change. Amanda and her husband, Michael, had Madeleine dive into yogurt, avocado, and bananas and she has had messy little hands ever since! Amanda loves letting Madeleine explore in and out of the house and is always prepared with changes of clothes and a lot of wipes for everything she gets in to! 


She loves to spend her time with her two dogs and guinea pig. She enjoys live music and has sand and sea shells tucked into the pockets of all of her backpacks and purses. She cannot wait to create with children and their families while focusing on everything being messy has to offer! 

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