KIERAN HOWARD: The thought of messy toddler group gives me palpitations

Having a toddler is really bringing out the OCD in me.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 31st July 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:08 am
Kieran says the thought of a messy toddler groups gives him palpitations

I read on with fear and palpitations about a new monthly children’s group which has just got underway in Devon.

Messy Moo, as it’s called, is held in a Plymouth church hall.

And yes, I’m very thankful that it’s not just around the corner.

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The group allows tots to play until their hearts’ content with jelly, spaghetti and shaving foam, to name just a few.

The title alone fills me with a sense of dread and despair.

The clean-up operation must be quite extensive.

It takes me 10 minutes just to get Louie’s highchair and tray back to an acceptable standard after he’s had his dinner.

I occasionally wonder if he’s actually consumed any food, particularly when I see the devastation which surrounds where he’s eaten.

So, I can only begin to imagine how long it must take to get the room resembling a church hall again.

Lisa Clark runs the Messy Moo group.

She said, ‘At one point, I looked up and there were kids covered in paint, with spaghetti in their hair, literally rolling around in a tray of shaving foam and I just thought, “this is wonderful”.’


Now that is truly the stuff of nightmares for me.

If I’d witnessed that, I’d have had a panic attack.

Someone would have had to quickly find me a brown paper bag to blow into, just to get my breathing back under control.

I’ll be honest, Louie really doesn’t need any encouragement when it comes to making a mess.

He’s pretty adept at it already.

I’d even say he’s quite the professional when it comes to creating carnage.

That said, I do like the idea of parents not having to clear up following the messy group, although they still has to clean their child.

I’d have to ensure he was adequately wiped down before I got him back in the car, or even anywhere near the car.

Anyway, if anyone does want to experience something similar to this unique group, but a little more local, then please just pop round to ours.

I can virtually guarantee that Messy Lou will be up and running for at least 12 hours a day, and sometimes even more.

In fact, anyone with children will echo that – even if some do post up photos of their strangely immaculate lounge floors.

Photoshop is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?


Louie’s already subtly hinted that he doesn’t wish to pursue a career in football.

His first Little Kickers session at Fareham Leisure Centre was far from the success we were hoping for.

They may have to rename it Little Criers, if the first week is anything to go by.

He spent more time sitting on the sports hall floor with a tear in his eye than kicking a ball. Bless him.

It was like Gazza when he got booked in the semi-final at Italia ‘90.

The staff said it can take between six and eight weeks for them to really settle in.

The introductory classes are brilliant. Each session is 45 minutes and teaches toddlers the basics of football in a fun environment.

He received his own kit too and did enjoy some elements of the first lesson. He was particularly fond of the bit where we went home.

Oddly, he was a lot happier when we took him to Flip Out in Portsmouth.

He loves the trampolines and is definitely a happier gymnast than he is footballer.

He also enjoyed the activity cube and ball-pit, both of which we also have at home.

We basically paid a fiver for him to play with the things he was playing with before we left the house.