Where making messes is part of the fun

Michelle Sweet knows that play dough, paint, sand, mud and lots of other squishy, wet, grainy and colorful things are irresistible for most kids.

The mother of two young children also knows that most parents do not love the resulting cleanup, so she and her husband, Christopher Wilkins, created a place where messy play is allowed and encouraged.

Make a Mess opened last fall in North Kingstown, and as Sweet and Wilkins focused on creating fun stations without flooding the back room (that only happened once, Sweet said), the business was steadily attracting customers.

The couple’s goal of hosting 20 kids a day was realized after just a few months, with no advertising other than social media posts and word-of-mouth recommendations from parents.

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Play stations filled with water beads, kinetic sand, homemade play dough, colored rice and other things are standard. “Kitchens,” where kids use ingredients such as mud, whipped cream and pasta, pop up regularly.

“The only thing the parents have to do is clean up their kid afterward, we clean up everything else,” Sweet said.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at Graham@PBN.com.