One of the most basic ways for kids to have some outside fun and learning time is to play in the mud. For many daycares and preschools, an outside mud kitchen is at the top of their wish list because of its play value. Making one at home depends on your space, but mud play can happen in a pail of dirt and water with a few spoons and dishes.
Playing in the mud is certainly sensory play and it’s self-directed. Not only are kids having fun, they are learning at the same time, and developing skills and brain connections for kindergarten readiness and beyond. A few of them might be:
- There are great words for talking about mud like slippery, squishy, liquid, and others. Kids will love to share and tell about what they are doing in the mud.
- Seeing what happens to dirt and water and how it combines is basic science. What else does mud do? Why does it get hard and lumpy after a while?
- Kids can play in the mud by themselves or with friends. It’s inexpensive and ordinary items like spoons, cups, pails, little shovels, and other things hiding in kitchen drawers will extend the play. Kids can bury and find little plastic toys like dinosaurs or animals.
- Mud play is definitely imaginative. The mud can be cakes, pie, secret potions, and more. Kids mold and shape with mud exploring and creating.
Mud play can happen over and over. Children will play with it differently from one day to the next. A younger child may be more interested in the sensory aspect while an older one likes to use mud as a basis for pretending. This is definitely an activity to enjoy outdoors. Does your child like to engage in mud play?