mud play

Kindergarten Readiness: Fall Nature Activities #1-Sun/Mud

This morning,  I was doing some research for my radio show on the topic of children and connections to nature and read that not just healthy physical development, but emotional and mental too are affected; kindergarten readiness would also then be impacted by children’s bond to nature.

(Learn and Play with Mrs. A is on the RockStar Radio Network, Mondays at noon Eastern time.)

To encourage fun and learning, the next 10 posts will each have one idea for encouraging nature play. Being a kindergarten teacher, the clue for each activity will rhyme with the number. Here’s the first:
ONE: as in fun, sun. Or sometimes rain. Just being outside helps children in many ways. Outside, they are not limited by space as they are inside and children can play actively, developing their large muscles and practicing regulating their energy levels. When it rains, the water mixed with dirt makes wonderful mud. Kids are attracted to mud, but it’s just dirt and doesn’t hurt. Instead, kids develop their sensory awareness as they make and squish mud. They notice the texture and the feel and how it changes when water is added. Nature is linked to what they create and what they imagine.

Mud play also helps little ones develop small muscles in their hands and adds new words to their vocabulary, like squish, slippery, sticky and more. Playing in the mud is a safe way to get rid of tensions and anxieties. Mud play is not limited to outside, although it’s definitely easier. Grownups sometimes play with mud inside. That mud is called clay and gets hands just as dirty. In some areas, there may some children’s pottery programs for more mud play.

For  post number one’s learning and play in nature, can you and your child have some fun in the sun? Or the mud?

Yummy Mud

Motivating children to want to learn about all those squiggles on a page and what they mean can be done by cooking together. Here’s a fun recipe to make mud that good enough to eat! Measure into the blender 1 cup of milk, 1/2 banana, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 2 or 3 ice cubes. Blend, pour and slurp. (from Pretend Soup).

A task that uses reading helps reinforce the concept that reading has meaning. While this is obvious to us, it is not so evident to little ones. Experiences like these help children figure out what reading is all about. Enjoy your muddy treat. Do you have any great mud recipes? Add them in the comment section for some more meaningful reading.