The secret to learning is play

Jo Booth, who set up Arty Splats,  having some messy-play fun with her sons  Finley, aged 18 months (left), and Harry, aged three.
Jo Booth, who set up Arty Splats, having some messy-play fun with her sons Finley, aged 18 months (left), and Harry, aged three.

A teacher’s light bulb moment enjoying a “messy- play” session with her young son has led to a successful business.

Jo Booth loved the play time with her son Harry but found the setting up of it, keeping the mess contained and then clearing it up quite stressful.

She said: “I wanted a class like that for Harry but could not find one that combined art, craft, messy play, music and more, and thought ‘I’ll set one up myself.’

“I thought there would be lots of parents, carers and grandparents who would like it as well.”

And when Jo, aged 35, left her teaching job in Oxfordshire when she was pregnant with Finley, she set about putting the idea into reality.

The result was Arty Splats – an educational programme for children aged from six months to toddlers and pre-school, where they get to enjoy arts, crafts and sensory play.

And the secret is that the children don’t know they are learning – they think it’s play.

Jo, who lives in Hampton Magna, with her husband-to-be Darren, said: “The children adore the fact that they can come in and make lots of mess, but they’re learning. It’s so subtle that they don’t know they are learning. They just think they are having loads of fun.”

Jo worked in teaching for more than 10 years , including from 14-year-olds to A-levels, childcare courses up to HND level, and has managed summer play schemes.

“Children learn through play and if it’s with other children it’s even better. There are amazing educational benefits to it, especially with language and cognitive development.”

Adults taking children to her classes were so impressed that they have nominated Arty Splats for two categories in the What’s on 4 Juniors Award.

Jo said: “I am so thrilled that parents have nominated us for such a prestigious national award.”