The Messy fun of Mud Play
Why playing in dirt is actually good for children.
Squelch. Splish. Splat. Ah, the familiar sounds of mud being squished and squashed and moulded and transformed. We all remember as kids the fun of navigating a course through the perilous terrain that was a pool of mud. The feeling of wet dirt sloshing between our palms, pressing it together until it was a brown ball with an occasional twig sticking out. Then throwing it back to the ground and seeing it splatter outwards. Do you recall the soothing sensation of being barefoot in mud? Squeezing and flexing your toes while feeling the cold earth slip and slide between the webbing of your feet. At the end of the day you would be left with the dried-up remains of mud, now simply dirt, crusting underneath your fingertips and on your forearms and shinbones. There would be a feeling of freshness and even cleanliness when you chipped it away from your skin. The entire experience was almost therapeutic. Right?
As it turns out, therapeutic is exactly what it was
The world has become a cleaner place in many ways, at least in the way we think we should keep our children from things that could expose them to sickness. Playing in the mud is one of many things to face such scrutiny. But fear not! That scrutiny has lead to studies that actually show the benefits of Mud Play and its importance to child development.
The benefits of Mud Play
It is no secret that children love to play, and one of the many reasons for that is they get the chance to be creative. Mud is a versatile pit of creativity that lets children transform the landscape into whatever their imagination lets them.
They can build a hut, make a mud tray, make mud food for the mud tray, create shapes and objects etc. Not only do they get to have a blast making mud men fight mud monsters, but the whole experience is an important emotional one too. The sensations of mud, the sensations we each remember as kids ourselves, is a therapeutic experience that relieves tension and stress while creating important childhood memories and connections with nature.
We believe in the importance of Mud Play at Mount Coolum Day Care Centre and have it in our daily program, as children enjoy our mud pit and mud kitchen. If you are interested in this activity and other parts of our program please contact us.