Celebrating an arty anniversary

Big Splat is a big hit with kids

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By Suzy Smith
For Blount Today

After being in the kid-friendly fun business for more than a year, M and M’s Big Splat is making their mark on the community.

M and M’s Big Splat, an arts and crafts studio for children, opened in January 2006 and according to co-business owner, Megan Godfrey, the business is exceeding their expectations.

"We’ve listened to parents to see what their needs are," Godfrey said. Godfrey and Missy Dean, her business partner and friend of 13 years, moved to Maryville from Naples, Fla. Godfrey said they did not have plans to start a business until they
realized there was not anything like this in this area.

M and M’s Big Splat not only offers arts and crafts classes, they have a parent’s day out preschool program, birthday parties and art camps that take place during school breaks.

"We want children to develop a love of being creative," said Godfrey, who taught preschool for 12 years.

The art classes are divided by age groups. During the class for 2-year-olds, parents participate in the activities. For the classes for the 3-year-olds and the 4- and 5-year-olds, parents can relax with a cup of coffee in the parents’ parlor or can use the time to run errands.

Each class lasts an hour and begins with a story. Then the participants work on an art project that relates to the story. The class ends with 10 minutes of music and movement activities.

The parents’ day out preschool program offer half-day classes two mornings per week. The literacy-based program focuses on kindergarten readiness.

"We tie in art and fun," Godfrey said. They help the children with letter and number identification and shapes and colors recognition.

Godfrey said birthday parties at M and M Big Splat have been a huge success. The guest of honor selects the theme and an arts and crafts project is developed to incorporate the theme.

"This way the parents can actually enjoy the party," Godfrey said. She said some aspects that parents like about birthday parties at M and M’s Big Splat is the guests have a craft they made to take home with them and party clean-up is taken care of.

Another successful program at the art studio has been the themed camps. Godfrey said that by the second week of summer break last year, classes every day were almost full.

Parents can sign up their children for the camp for the week or select certain days. With spring break starting next week, Godfrey has been busy working on daily themes and activities. Monday the children will be Digging with Dinos, Tuesday is Pet Shop Party day and on Wednesday, the children will be working on activities related to the book, "Diary of a Worm." On Thursday, kids will have a Let’s Pretend Day and on Friday they will be Springing into Spring. Godfrey said space is still available for the Spring Break camp.

With the success of their business, Godfrey said it is important for them to give back to the community.

"We’re really big on giving because we’re so thankful to the community for how wonderful they’ve been," Godfrey said. She said the art classes made Valentines for the military stationed overseas. Also, they have donated gift certificates for fundraising auctions, and they have a class once a month at a discounted rate for home-schooled children. She said she feels it is important to help home-schooled children with arts and crafts in a social group setting.

The ink is dry on the lease renewal for the studio located at 912 West Broadway, so M and M’s Big Splat is looking to the future. They have plans to expand the parent’s day out preschool program to three mornings per week for next school year. Also, Megan and Missy are considering an after school arts program for older children.

"Working with children keeps you young," Godfrey said. The way things are going, Godfrey and Dean will be forever young.

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