Mud, mud, glorious mud; playing in the mud appeals to children, and to the child in all of us. It’s a joyous way to play in the springtime. The video below takes only 2 minutes to watch, but in just a few seconds you will be chuckling and envying the kids as they play. Clean up won’t be bad either, a bucket or two of warm water poured over their heads or squirt with the hose should wash off the mud. Better yet, the kids could wash and play in a big container of warm water and have double the fun.
There is no doubt that this is sensory play, and not just for hands. The children have spread the mud over every bit of exposed skin. This isn’t quite so delightful when the weather is cool and damp but squishing, patting, stirring and other actions are almost as much fun, especially when adding imagination to the mix of dirt and water.
For some mud play on a small scale, give kids some bowls and spoons. Sticks, rocks, pine cones, and bits of grass can also be added. Kids will dig and sculpt, exercising the small muscles in their fingers and hands and the bigger ones all over their body as they reach, stretch, run, sit, and balance.
In their imaginations they may be making meals or secret potions, engaging with dinosaurs or fairies. They can bury small items and find them again like treasure.
During the play, kids are exploring in a variety of ways such as:
- figuring out the math concepts of more and less and how relationship matters for numbers. One spoon of mud is not equal to one bowl of mud even though they are the same number,
- discovering the science of change and solids vs liquids. When dirt is mixed with water it changes to mud. A dry mud pie doesn’t pour but it will break into pieces,
- using ways of interacting with playmates such as sharing and negotiating, and
- communicating with others and attaching words to experiences.
This is only some of the learning that’s mixed in with mud play, and it won’t wash off like the mud. How about some fun in the mud for today’s play-of-the-day?