Kids don’t need beauty treatments—which is an adult excuse for playing in mud, and they don’t need excuses, either. Kids just simply play with mud.Dirt + water = mud is a magic formula for sensory and imaginative play. Hands, feet, and sometimes whole bodies feel the ooey, gooey slipperiness of mud. While stirring, squishing, pouring, patting, molding, digging, and other actions mostly stimulate the sense of touch, the other senses are involved too. There are soft sounds for hearing, faint odors for smell, slight differences in the brown color for seeing but hopefully, kids aren’t tasting mud.
For some children the sensory aspect of playing in mud will be all they need, others will like to create. They may make mud pies and cakes, and other concoctions, and leave them to ‘bake’ in the sun. With sticks, small stones, grass, pine cones, leaves, and flowers they might have a recipe for mud stew, also known as fairy soup. A few accessories like spoons, scoops, shovels, and old pots are much appreciated.
Imagination is often another ingredient in mud play. Sometimes, fierce dragons or might dinosaurs also come out to play. Kids know the magic words to turn mud into secret potions that defeat enemies or give amazing powers.
It might look like kids are only mucking about but they are engaged in a tremendous amount of learning. Information is taken in by the senses, so kids need to explore how their senses work. Brains are busy planning, predicting, observing, figuring out cause and effect, problem-solving, visualizing, creating, and imagining, to name only a few thinking skills. On a social level, kids could be talking, sharing, taking turns, and negotiating. Mud play helps kids release tension and develop patience. Hands-on with mud is a hands-on connection to nature.Children find and invent other ways to play in mud. After time spent playing with mud, a warm bath to wash it all away, is an added bonus. Could play with mud be your child’s play-of-the-day?